Former KPMG head appointed to Keppel board as takeover looms

22 October 2019 2 min. read
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Former KPMG Singapore and Asia Pacific chairman Tham Sai Choy is one of three new board appointments at Singaporean conglomerate Keppel Corporation, with their additions coming as minor shareholder Temasek seeks to buy a controlling stake in the company.

As state-owned enterprise Temasek Holdings makes a bid for control of local conglomerate Keppel Corporation, the latter has announced former KPMG Singapore and Asia Pacific chairman Tham Sai Choy as one of three new non-executive director appointments, alongside shipping industry veteran Teo Siong Seng and Allen & Gledhill senior partner Penny Goh. Tham Sai Choy won’t however take his seat until the beginning of next month.

Retiring from the firm in 2017, Tham spent close to 35 years at KPMG Singapore, rising through the local Corporate Finance and Audit leadership roles to ultimately serve as Head of Audit for KPMG’s Asia Pacific operations, before being made Singapore managing partner in 2010. Three years later, he took up the position of chairman for KPMG in the Asia Pacific, serving on KPMG’s global board and leading a number of its key committees.

During his time with KPMG, Than worked with many of Singapore’s largest listed companies and multinationals in both an audit and consultancy capacity, including paving the way for early-years inbound and outbound listings. As a leader at the firm, he also helped to drive its technological advancement both locally and regionally, playing a key role in overseeing the development of its automated electronic audit tool now deployed globally.

Tham Sai Choy, Independent Director at Keppel Corporation

In addition to shortly joining Keppel as an independent director, Chan is also the chairman of the Singapore Institute of Directors, and among others serves on the boards of the Singapore International Arbitration Centre, the Accounting & Corporate Regulatory Authority, the Housing & Development Board, and DBS Bank – the latter recently named by strategy and innovation consultancy Innosight as among the world’s most transformative companies.

“Mr Tham Sai Choy would be a suitable addition to the Board given Mr Tham’s experience as a member of KPMG’s global board where he was responsible for KPMG's global strategies and planning and had played a key role in the firm’s investment in and development of its capabilities in cybersecurity, data analytics and digital transformation. He would also enhance the diversity of skills on the KCL Board,” the company stated on its announcement.

Meanwhile, however, uncertainty has grown around the looming Temasek takeover. According to local reports, Temasek has said it intends for Keppel to remain listed on SGX, but will seek to undertake a comprehensive strategic review of its businesses. Accordingly, Temasek may propose new directors to Keppel’s board after the close of the partial offer, but that partial offer may not yet be made for several months with respect to first meeting certain pre-conditions.