New CEO for NTUC Fairprice

NTUC FairPrice has announced the resignation of  CEO Tan Kian Chew on December 31 after 23 years with the company.

Tan will join the Singapore Labour Foundation as CEO.

His replacement has been named as Seah Kian Peng, who will commence on January 1.

Tan Kian Chew NTUC Fair PriceTan joined NTUC FairPrice in 1992 as one of its assistant GMs and quickly rose to become GM (operations and corporate planning) in 1994, COO in 1995, deputy CEO in 1996 and eventually CEO in 1997.

NTUC FairPrice chairman Bobby Chin said he deeply appreciated Kian Chew’s 23 years of service to FairPrice.

“In [his] time, he has helped to build and strengthen the social enterprise.  He leaves FairPrice well poised to continue to deliver significant social good and in sound financial health.  He has built strong relationships not only within Fairprice but also across the group of social enterprises and the Labour Movement.  He is not only a colleague, but a friend to all and a mentor to many.  I wish him every success in his next career and I am sure all of us at FairPrice will miss him dearly.”

During his tenure, Tan focused NTUC FairPrice on its social mission of moderating the cost of living for daily essentials. These include absorbing the initial impact of GST, launching the Everyday Low Price basket of goods and introducing the two per cent discount for seniors (on Tuesdays) and three per cent discount for pioneers (on Mondays), benefitting over 170,000 seniors every week.

NTUC FairPrice has regularly been voted the most socially responsible company and one of the top brands in Singapore and the region by independent survey companies.

Apart from delivering on its social mission, under Tan’s leadership NTUC FairPrice also grew quickly to become Singapore’s leading retailer with annual sales growth from $752 million in 1997 to $3.2 billion in 2014, attaining a market share of 59 per cent in 2014. Profit before tax also rose from $49 million in 1997 to $227 million in 2014 and net assets of the cooperative rose from $217 million to $1.5 billion during this period.

“I am grateful to have spent 23 years with this great organisation, and deeply honored to have had the opportunity to lead it for the last 18 years,” said Tan in a statement.

“I am very proud of what my colleagues and I have accomplished together during this period; in meeting competition, overcoming challenges and leading FairPrice to becoming a clear market leader in Singapore with a strong social mission.  I am leaving FairPrice with a sense of confidence as I am handing it over to Seah Kian Peng who has proven himself to be a very capable and dynamic leader.”

Incoming CEO Seah has worked in both the public and private sector and joined the National Trades Union Congress – administration & research unit (NTUC-ARU) in June 1996 and was seconded to NTUC FairPrice in February 2001 as COO. In November 2001, Seah was re-designated as deputy CEO and continued to be overall-in-charge of supermarket operations.  In July 2006, with the announcement of the new group corporate structure, Seah was appointed MD of Singapore and was subsequently promoted to CEO of the Singapore business in April 2010.

Under Seah’s leadership, FairPrice increased its footprint in Singapore from 99 to 290 stores with the opening of new formats to meet the evolving needs of the people in the city.

Said Seah today: “I am humbled and excited by this continuing opportunity to serve the people of Singapore. NTUC FairPrice is an important part of the social fabric of Singapore and we will continue to focus on our social mission of moderating the cost of living for daily essentials while meeting the evolving needs and aspirations of the people of Singapore in this area.”

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