2019 SGX100 CFO Transitions

Career TransitionsDEISuccessionFinancial OfficersExecutive SearchC-Suite Succession
min Article
May 13, 2020
3 min
Career TransitionsDEISuccessionFinancial OfficersExecutive SearchC-Suite Succession
Singapore has the highest percentage of female CFOs in the region among the top 100 companies listed on the Singapore stock exchange.

Russell Reynolds Associates analyzed the changes in the CFO community of SGX100 companies during 2019. We found the following:

  • 9 SGX100 companies announced new group CFOs

  • 56% were promoted internally

  • 77% of these appointments were men

  • 44% external appointments

At the end of 2019, our analysis showed that:

  • 62% Percentage of male CFOs
  • 46% of CFOs had been internally promoted
  • 5.5 years Average Tenure

Internal vs. External 

Companies in Singapore have the highest percentage of externally hired CFOs in the region (54%), as compared to Australia (48%), India (32%) and Hong Kong (27%). 

SGX100 Hires

ASX100 Hires

HKSE100 Hires

BSE100 Hires

54% external

48% external

27% external

32% external

46% internal

52% internal

73% internal

68% internal

Men vs. Women

Singapore also has the highest percentage (38%) of women CFOs in the region among the top 100 companies listed on the Singapore stock exchange. It is significantly higher than the other 3 economies under our study, Australia (19%), Hong Kong (12%), India (9%). This shows the city-state is doing well in terms of diversity and women leaders have been given many opportunities for career progression to the C-suite level.

SGX100 Hires

ASX100 Hires

HKSE100 Hires

BSE100 Hires

38% female

19% female

12% female

9% female

62% male

81% male

88% male

91% male

Average Tenure

CFOs in Singapore have an average tenure of 5.5 years, which is comparable to their peers in India but less than CFOs in Hong Kong (6.4 years) but more than the average in Australia.

SGX100 Hires

ASX100 Hires

HKSE100 Hires

BSE100 Hires

5.5 years

4.6 years

6.4 years

5.5 years

SGX 100 CFO Transitions in 2019

  • SPH REIT appointed Benjamin Kuah Hsien Yiao as CFO and head of investor relations in Jan 2019, replacing Soon Suet Har who had resigned. Soon has returned to parent Singapore Press Holdings for “other exposure and development,” according to the Singapore-based real estate investment trust. Kuah last worked as a group financial controller for Nanshan Group Singapore Co Pte. Ltd.

  • Paul Chow is appointed as the CFO of Haw Par Corporation Limited in Jan 2019, replacing Zann Lim who has left the firm to pursue other opportunities. Chow joined the Group in 2000 as a senior investment officer and he also worked as head of asset management at the firm.

  • CapitaLand Mall Trust appointed Cindy Chew Sze Yung as its new CFO in Mar 2019, replacing Tan Lei Keng who would assume another appointment within the CapitaLand Limited Group. Cindy has over 18 years experience in the finance industry. She joined the CapitaLand Group in 2006, and prior to her current appointment, she was deputy head, finance, CMTML since 2011.

  • Thomson Medical Group has appointed Wilson Sam as executive director and CFO in Mar 2019. He replaced Tan Zing Yuen, who has relinquished his role as the interim CFO and assumed the role of chief risk officer and group finance director. Sam was formerly senior vice-president of investments at Kestrel Capital. From 2010 to 2013, he was the vice-president of investments at Rowsley. .

  • Stephen Patrick Gore was appointed group finance director of Jardine Cycle & Carriage in Apr 2019, replacing Adrian Teng who would pursue other interests and opportunities outside the Company. Gore joined the company as CFO, Jardine Pacific, and Jardine Motors Group in 2017. He was previously managing director, head of mergers & acquisitions and financial sponsors group, APAC at Bank of America Merrill Lynch from 2012 to 2017. Prior to that, he was managing director, head of mergers & acquisitions and corporate finance, Asia (ex-Australia, ex-Japan) at UBS AG’s investment bank division.

  • Clem Constantine replaced Neil Galloway as group finance and property director at Dairy Farm International Holdings Limited in Aug 2019. Constantine was previously the property director for Dairy Farm International Holdings Limited. Galloway joined Dairy Farm in October 2013 from Hongkong and Shanghai Hotels Ltd where he served as CFO and finance director. Constantine joined Dairy Farm as the group property director in July 2018. He brought both international experience and extensive knowledge of property portfolio through his own international retail property consultancy and working as the property director at Marks & Spencer.

  • ComfortDelGro Corporation Limited has appointed Thong (Derek) Hean Koh as interim CFO starting from Oct 2019, replacing long-serving Choo Chek Siew, who retired at the end of Sep 2019 after serving in the role for 16 years. Koh was the group chief special projects officer at ComfortDelGro, he oversees the integration of the group’s acquisitions. He was one of the candidates recruited as part of the group’s succession plans. Prior to joining ComfortDelGro, Koh was the CFO of offshore support vessel provider Miclyn Express Offshore from 2011 to 2019.

  • Ivan Lim Ming Rean, the CFO of Mapletree Logistics Trust Management had resigned and stepped down in Dec 2019. He would take over as the CFO of OUE Limited in Jan 2020. Lim has served in the role as CFO for 3 years and has more than 20 years of finance, accounting, and capital market experience in the real estate industry. Prior to that, his other appointments include being the CFO of Keppel REIT Management Limited, as well as the financial controller at Ascendas Pte Ltd.

  • Mapletree Logistics Trust announced on 27 Dec 2019 that Sheh (Charmaine) Min Lum, a long-time Mapletree finance veteran, would take over as the company CFO on Jan 2020. Ms. Lum has more than 20 years of experience in finance, accounting, and audit, with the last 13 years in the Mapletree group of companies. In her last appointment, she was the finance director of Mapletree Industrial Trust Management, supporting the business to deliver its financial objectives, including fundraising, tax structuring, financial and management reporting.

Additional Authors

Lucas Ni is a Knowledge Associate of Russell Reynolds’ Corporate Officers Practice Knowledge Team. He is based in Singapore.