Tony Tan taking up positions in GIC and SPH - Sep 01, 2005 (ST)

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The Straits Times / The Business Times News On SPH

Tony Tan taking up positions in GIC and SPH

By Lydia Lim
Sep 01, 2005
The Straits Times

From today, he will hold a newly-created post of executive director at the Government of Singapore Investment Corporation (GIC) and also be its co-deputy chairman.

Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong is the other deputy chairman and Minister Mentor Lee Kuan Yew is chairman.

NEW ROLE: Dr Tan will join the SPH board as an independent and non-executive director.

A board member since the investment firm was set up in 1981, Dr Tan said his retirement from public office means he can now spend more time helping Singapore build up its reserves.

He will also join the Singapore Press Holdings (SPH) board as an independent and non-executive director, once the regulators approve his appointment.

He will be the second former minister to do so. The first was Mr Lim Kim San, 88, who was executive chairman for 14 years and is now senior advisor.

Yesterday, SPH chairman Lim Chin Beng said the wealth of expertise Dr Tan brings with him will greatly benefit the company.

On his part, Dr Tan hopes to contribute to SPH's management and its 13 newspapers' coverage of local and international news.

During a farewell press conference at his Defence Ministry office in Bukit Gombak yesterday morning, he was relaxed and friendly.

He later invited reporters to pose for photographs with him before he went to lunch with the governing board of the National University of Singapore Graduate Medical School.

Looking back on his years in government, his eyes lit up when he recalled his tours out on the field to meet national servicemen during training.

To the man who led the Defence Ministry for eight years from 1995 to 2003, those visits were the high points of his ministerial career and what he would miss most.

'It is a heartening sight to see our NSmen, young men, 19, 20 years old, barely out of school, being transformed into real soldiers.'

After entering politics in 1979, he also headed the finance, trade and industry and education ministries.

Over the past year, he led a review of R&D policies and canvassed for spending to be more than doubled to $12 billion over the next five years.

He is confident Singapore can transform its economy into one that is knowledge-intensive and driven by innovation and enterprise.

He chairs the National Research Foundation from today and is PM Lee's deputy on the Research, Innovation and Enterprise Council.

Having overseen the development of universities for the last 25 years, he will continue to be involved as chairman of the Education Ministry's International Academic Advisory Panel.

What about his role as an MP of Sembawang GRC? He's keeping it, he said.

But will he contest the next election? 'We'll cross that bridge when we come to it,' he said with a smile.

Yesterday afternoon, Dr Tan capped a long career as minister with one final Cabinet meeting in the Istana.

It was, he said, his last official function.