SINGAPORE, 18 OCT 2005 – The Senior Advisor to Singapore Press Holdings Limited, Mr Lim Kim San, will step down at the end of the year, after 17 years with the media group.
In a statement released today, the SPH Board of Directors said Mr Lim had expressed his desire to retire in December, after 14 years as Executive Chairman and the last three years as Senior Advisor to the Group.
“Mr Lim is held in the highest regard by the Board, and it is with much regret that we accept his decision to retire. On behalf of the SPH Board, I would like to express our heartfelt thanks for his invaluable advice and leadership through the years, and wish him many good years of happy retirement,” said Chairman Mr Lim Chin Beng.
Mr Lim, who turns 89 this year, stepped down as Executive Chairman of the Group in 2002, but agreed to stay on as Senior Advisor at the request of the SPH Board.
“I wanted to retire as far back as 2001, but after so many years with the Company, I could not simply walk away when asked to help SPH contend with the fast and ever-changing landscape in the political, social and technological world. So I stayed on for a little while longer,” Mr Lim said.
SPH Chief Executive Officer, Mr Alan Chan said: "From the time he was Executive Chairman and then Senior Advisor in 2003, Mr Lim has played a crucial role in driving and shaping the Group into the successful multi-media company that it is today. Whenever the Board was faced with a difficult decision, we could always count on him to provide the right counsel and advice.”
“His guidance on some of SPH´s key decisions, including our 5-for-1 share split, the merger of our TV and free newspaper operations and our decision to divest from non-core areas was especially appreciated,” Mr Chan added.
From the time Mr Lim assumed his post in 1988 till today, SPH has grown into one of the region´s leading media companies, with annual revenue hitting the S$1 billion mark this year, and a market capitalization of about S$7.2 billion.
Mr Cheong Yip Seng, the Editor-in-Chief of the English and Malay Newspapers Division said Mr Lim had been an editor´s “dream” chief executive.
“He had no media background, but very quickly grasped the values
that drive a good newspaper. He knew that credibility and integrity underpinned its success.”
Mr Cheong said each time a decision had to be made to reconcile the often conflicting interests of a newspaper´s clients, readers, newsmakers and advertisers, Mr Lim´s position was unambiguous.
“He always came out on the side of the reader.”
Mr Cheong added that SPH continued to benefit from his sound business instincts after he became Senior Advisor to the Group.
“One example was when we were debating a cover price increase in 2003. He came in only at the last meeting. He cut through to the core of the issue, and made what later proved to be the correct decision.”
His view was shared by The Editor of The Straits Times, Mr Han Fook Kwang, who said SPH would miss Mr Lim Kim San´s strong leadership and his well-honed instinct to do the right thing.
“Often, the presentations would be full of details, numbers, and analyses, but he would ask the one or two simple questions which got to the heart of the matter.”
Lianhe Zaobao´s Editor, Mr Lim Jim Koon, said he was sad to learn that SPH would soon be losing Mr Lim as its Senior Advisor.
“To have an elderly person at home is like having a treasure. Wise, experienced and held in high esteem, Mr Lim Kim San has led SPH to achieve new heights over the years. He is our treasure.”
The Editor of the Chinese flagship daily said many of the older staff in the Chinese Newspapers Division still hold Mr Lim especially close to their hearts, for bringing their salaries in line with the pay of journalists from the English newspapers many years ago.
Mr Mohd Guntor Sadali, the Editor of Berita Harian and Berita Minggu said Mr Lim´s retirement is a loss to the Malay community.
“He speaks Malay, and understands the needs and challenges facing the community, ” Mr Mohd Guntor said. He added that Mr Lim has a very simple philosophy about work.
“He once told me not to lose sleep over staff who have left us no matter how good they were. He told me that if I don´t like my job, I should quit. It is good for you and for the company. This simple advice left a permanent imprint in my mind.”
Looking back on his 17 years with the company, Mr Lim said :
“It has been most satisfying. I am privileged to have had the opportunity to do what I have done for the company, and to have worked with so many talented people through thick and thin. “
Mr Lim added : “With the advent of the new media, the future of newspaper publishing looks tough. But we now have a strong corps of new directors and senior executives in place to take on this challenge, and this will be further strengthened with Dr Tony Tan as the Chairman-designate of the Board. Such self-renewal is vital to the success of the Company. I am confident the ship will remain in good hands.”
Issued by Singapore Press Holdings Limited
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For more information, please contact:
Mr Arnold Gay
Singapore Press Holdings
About Singapore Press Holdings Ltd
Main board listed Singapore Press Holdings Limited is the leading media company in Singapore, in the print, Internet and broadcasting platforms. It publishes 13 newspapers in the four official languages and about 80 magazine titles. Everyday, 2.8 million individuals, or 88 per cent of the people above 15 years old, read one of the SPH publications. Its Internet Business Unit manages the online editions of SPH’s major newspapers and magazines, which together enjoy over 300 million pageviews a month. SPH also owns a 20% stake in MediaCorp TV Holdings Pte Ltd, which operates free-to-air channels 5, 8, U and TV Mobile, and a 40% stake in MediaCorp Press Pte Ltd, which publishes free newspaper Today. SPH operates two entertainment radio channels, UFM 100.3 FM in Chinese and WKRZ 91.3 FM in English, under a joint venture company UnionWorks with NTUC Media, and owns an 80% stake in SPH MediaBoxOffice Pte Ltd, Singapore´s largest LED network media company.