Tan Kin Lian asked to quit co-op

Askmelah’s Note:

NTUC INCOME was well run by then CEO Tan Kin Lian until he was asked to leave. NTUC INCOME then offered one of the most competitive insurance premiums back then and Mr Tan himself has launched many initiative such as Home Services (to prevent overcharging of unscrupulous contractors for home maintenance and repair) and was also instrumental in trying to fight the errant motor repair trade which was known for over-inflating repair costs back then. On the down side, he was also known for his outspokenness on social issues and was a regular contributor to the ST Forum Page on social issues which might have ruffled a few feathers.

NTUC INCOME is never the same since the departure of Tan Kin Lian, we do not know if there are any political interference in his departure, but this is a classic case of dirty politics at work at least within the company itself. It is a lose-lose situation for Mr Tan and NTUC INCOME and the Singapore public at large. I still remain convinced by NTUC INCOME’s statement that the need to replace him is to “professionalise itself and for it to move the next level.” Neither of which is evident at all as far as I can see despite a few years after Mr Tan’s departure.

Along a similar theme, the Straits Times recently ran an article (Animal Crusader, Oct 3 2011) reporting the good works Mr Bernard Harrison, an avid and passionate animal lover, who decided to leave the Singapore Zoo where he was the Chief Executive Officer of Wildlife Reserves Singapore (WRS) when the board wanted the establishments to be more commercial and profitable. His view that “a company should not be too profitable because he hopes that every Singaporean will be able to enjoy a world-class zoo with a lower fee” is indeed commendable. The Government, who are the ultimate owner of these organisations, should not forget about the social responsibilities of these organisations. As I have always said, the Singapore Government is not short money, in fact it has too much of it.


Ex-Income Chief Asked to Quit Co-op

Source: The Sunday Times  7 Aug 2011

Learn More ST – Ex-Income Chief Asked to Quit Co-op [this is copyrighted to ST] Aug 7, 2011 Ex-Income chief asked to quit co-op By Robin Chan and Wong Kim Hoh, Senior Writer

Presidential hopeful and former NTUC Income chief Tan Kin Lian has revealed that he was asked to leave the insurance cooperative in 2006.

In an interview with The Sunday Times, he disclosed the reasons for his sudden departure from the company he helmed for nearly 30 years.

‘When I ran NTUC, I ran it quite differently from what my board wanted. The board wanted NTUC to be more commercial. I wanted NTUC to be more cooperative. So I struggled with my board over the years,’ said Mr Tan.

His remarks prompted an immediate response from NTUC Income, which said that, as a cooperative, it is today as committed as ever to its social purpose.

Rather, Mr Tan’s departure was linked to the need for NTUC Income to ‘professionalise’ itself and was necessary in order for it to ‘move to the next level’.

‘We are surprised by the comments from Mr Tan Kin Lian on his differences with the board on the direction of NTUC Income,’ the cooperative added.

‘Like any other board, the NTUC Income board comprised directors with varying backgrounds and professional expertise who have their own styles and generated diverse opinions and healthy debate. But collectively, their key job is to ensure the continued progress and growth of the cooperative.’

News that Mr Tan was leaving NTUC generated a lot of speculation when it first broke in September 2006. At that time, he said he was going into early retirement.

But since he stepped forward as a presidential candidate two months ago, talk has surfaced online that his departure from the insurance cooperative was not entirely voluntary.

The 63-year-old was unfazed when asked to address the rumour.

‘I was not a yes man to the board,’ he said, adding that he would often speak up against board decisions which he felt were not right……..(read more)

“He was famously outspoken, and his colourful and controversial personality won him both fans and distractors.”