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SPH Chief Appointed To Expanded PSC (ST)

BackSep 07, 2010

THE Public Service Commission (PSC) has grown to 12 members, with Singapore Press Holdings (SPH) chief executive officer Alan Chan the latest to join its ranks.

Mr Chan received his appointment for a five-year term from President SR Nathan yesterday.

The PSC has grown steadily in size since Mr Eddie Teo became its chairman two years ago, from eight members in 2008 to 12 today. This is the largest number since the early 1990s, when it had 11 members. Under the law, the PSC can have between five and 14 members.

The increase is in line with Mr Teo's aim of enhancing the diversity of views within the commission. 'Bringing in new members to the PSC enriches the way it selects scholars, appoints and promotes public servants and decides on disciplinary matters,' he told The Straits Times.

Last year, SingTel group CEO Chua Sock Koong and academic Lily Kong became the first women appointed to the PSC board since 1996.

Senior Counsel Philip Jeyaretnam joined the PSC last year.

The PSC selects recipients of prestigious government scholarships. It also appoints and promotes top civil servants, and is the final board of appeal for civil servants who disagree with decisions made by lower level personnel boards.

On Mr Chan's appointment, Mr Teo said his educational background, which includes an engineering degree from a top French university and an MBA from Insead in France, 'is quite different' from that of other PSC members, adding to the board's diversity.

Mr Chan also has the 'unique advantage of having worked extensively and at a senior level in both the public service and the corporate world', said Mr Teo.

Mr Chan is chairman of the Urban Redevelopment Authority and the Corporate Governance Council. He sits on the boards of organisations such as Singapore Power and MediaCorp TV.

The former President's Scholar worked in the civil service for 25 years. He was, at different periods, permanent secretary of the Transport Ministry, deputy secretary of the Foreign Affairs Ministry and principal private secretary to then Senior Minister Lee Kuan Yew.

Mr Chan said he would be able to share his experiences about the qualities required of a good public servant.

The requirements for talent in both private and public sectors are 'essentially the same', Mr Chan added, citing the qualities used by oil company Shell to select future leaders. These are the ability to have a helicopter view of situations, powers of analysis and imagination, and a sense of reality.

While businesses like Shell place more emphasis on the business acumen of their executives, the civil service looks for political acumen in its officers, he said.