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30 April 2010

NTUC FairPrice gears up for growth with new organisation structure

New structure will lead to greater synergy and stronger integration across FairPrice's operations for a more customer-centric company

NTUC FairPrice, Singapore's leading supermarket retailer, today announced a new organisation structure which will help the Co-operative better meet new challenges and explore new business opportunities.

Mr Seah Kian Peng, who was previously FairPrice's Managing Director, Group Business, has been promoted to Chief Executive Officer for Singapore. With this appointment, Mr Seah will manage and take charge of the businesses in Singapore.

Mr Gerry Lee, previously holding the appointment of Deputy Managing Director, Group Business at FairPrice, has been promoted to Managing Director, Business Groups. In his new role, Mr Lee will oversee the operations of all the retail outlets and FairPrice Plus.

Both appointments took effect from 1 April 2010.

NTUC FairPrice's Group CEO, Mr Tan Kian Chew, will remain in his current post, and will be focusing more on new business growth opportunities, as well as on the investments for the FairPrice Group. He will also be working closely with the Board and Management Team in setting the strategic directions for the Group over the next few years. Mr Tan will focus on working with other NTUC social enterprises to achieve the overall objective of do well, do good and do together.

Commenting on the changes, Mr Ng Ser Miang, NTUC FairPrice Chairman, said: "As a social enterprise, NTUC FairPrice must continue to do well in order to do good for our customers, our staff and the community. To be commercially successful in the highly competitive retail industry, FairPrice must innovate and stay relevant to our customers."

"The new structure will lead to greater synergy and stronger integration across FairPrice's operations, resulting in a more customer-centric company as a whole. It will also allow FairPrice to take a more focused and strategic approach to grow our business both locally and overseas," Mr Ng added.

Last year, NTUC FairPrice gave out $32 million in rebates to members and over $9 million in discounts to all customers. FairPrice Foundation also donated more than $10 million to the community, mainly to help poor and needy families cope with the downturn. Under the FairPrice SME Assistance scheme, FairPrice also allocated $30 million to accelerate payment to suppliers. This initiative helped to ease the cash flow for its SME business partners. This year, FairPrice will continue to reward its members with rebates and dividends. FairPrice Foundation will also continue to support worthy causes that help to provide a better life for those in need.

Taking Care of Staff Welfare Key to FairPrice's Success

FairPrice believes that having a team of dedicated and capable employees is fundamental to the success of its business, and that employees must be rewarded accordingly for their contributions to this success.

In support of NTUC's recent call for companies to share their profits with workers, FairPrice, after consultation with its Union, is giving out a special bonus to its employees. Employees of FairPrice who have been with the Co-operative for the last financial year can look forward to a one-time special variable bonus of 0.25 month. This special variable bonus will be awarded to about 6,800 employees, both full-time and part-time, and will cost FairPrice about $2.4 million. This special bonus is given on top of the annual group and performance bonuses which are being computed based on a profit-sharing formula. The annual bonuses, which will be announced later, are expected to be higher than last year's.

During the downturn last year, FairPrice imposed a wage freeze for its executive staff and a moderated increment for its non-executive staff.

Explaining FairPrice's commitment to being a people-centered company, Mr Ng said: "Being a people-centered company means that we focus not just on our customers, but also keep our employees' interests at heart. Thanks to the strong support of our customers, our business continued to do well during the downturn last year. We are sharing our profits with our staff through this special bonus, to acknowledge their hard work and contributions to our success."

In early 2008, FairPrice also distributed $1.5 million worth of FairPrice vouchers to help its staff cope with increasing costs of living. Each staff received between $100 and $350 worth of vouchers. Last year, during the economic downturn, FairPrice remained committed to its staff and did not retrench any of its employees. Instead, FairPrice took the opportunity to train and upgrade their skills to better prepare them for the eventual upturn.

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