SMRT HR Executives & 2 Senior Engineers Left In Past 8 Months

Transport operator SMRT has seen many leadership changes in the past few years, but one of their recent changes has sparked an exodus from the group.

According to a report by The Straits Times, an estimated 30 Human Resource (HR) staff and 2 senior engineers have resigned from the company in the past 8 months.


This comes after a change in chief executive officer – from Mr Desmond Quek to Mr Neo Kian Hong – and the leaving of chief corporate officer (CCO) Mr Gerard Koh in mid-2018.

At least 30 HR staff & 2 senior engineers resigned

The leadership change led to a slew of resignations being tendered in the past 8 months.

HR executives who have left include Ms Lee Yem Choo, head of HR at SMRT’s Thomson-East Coast Line division, and chief commuter engagement officer Ms Elaine Koh.

Notably, Ms Lee and Ms Koh had been in their respective roles for only about a year.

The 2 senior engineers who resigned are Mr Chia Chun Wah, senior vice-president of maintenance and engineering, and Mr Mario Favaits, the head of the now-defunct Singapore Rail Engineering.

According to the The Straits Times report, more staff departures are expected after the yearly bonus pay-out next month.

HR experts weigh in on manpower exodus

According to HR experts, the resignations may be due to the change in SMRT’s top management.

Mr David Leong, managing director of a HR firm, suggests the departures may have come as SMRT’s HR department “may be undergoing serious…transformation and business alignment … those who felt misaligned would resign”.

He adds that as HR is a core function of any company, the new management should intervene and dampen the exodus.

Mr Low Boon Seong, managing director of a HR consultancy company also said the resignations could be a “domino effect” of employees being afraid to be the last person left.

However, on an optimistic note, he said SMRT could take the chance to “rebuild a team” to achieve its goals as a transport operator company in Singapore.

May SMRT tide through well

In response to queries from The Straits Times, an SMRT spokesman said, “As we are continually strengthening the organisation to enhance train performance and reliability, we have streamlined and reassigned headcount from corporate headquarters.”

We hope SMRT will take the necessary steps to continue providing the best transportation services it can to all Singaporeans.

Featured image from SMRT Blog.