Singtel names insider as new group CEO amid sector slump

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SINGAPORE, Oct 1 (Reuters)Singapore Telecommunications Ltd STEL.SI appointed an insider as its new group CEO on Thursday amid a challenging time for the industry, saying its current chief will retire in January after 13 years at the helm.

Singtel said its board had chosen Yuen Kuan Moon, the CEO of its Singapore consumer business, to replace Chua Sock Koong, 63, who will stay on as a senior adviser to the chairman to assist with the transition.

Yuen, 53, has been with Singtel since 1993 and is also its group chief digital officer.

He takes over as the company, which gets the bulk of its business outside Singapore, has been hit by intensifying competition in overseas markets such as India and Australia.

At a virtual news conference on Thursday, Chairman Lee Theng Kiat said Yuen was chosen after a global search that considered internal and external candidates after Chua last year flagged her desire to retire.

Lee said Yuen’s “years of honed experience in the company’s core telecom business and his more recent focus on transforming the group digitally for growth, make him extremely well placed to lead Singtel forward in an era of disruption.”

Singtel shares traded 1.7% higher on Thursday, in line with the broader market .STI. They are still languishing near 12-year lows, down about 36% so far this year.

In the year ended March, Singtel’s net profit plunged about 65% to the lowest in more than two decades. It did not provide forecasts for the current year, citing uncertainty due to the COVID-19 pandemic.

(Reporting by Anshuman Daga in Singapore Anushka Trivedi in Bengaluru; Editing by Muralikumar Anantharaman and Stephen Coates)

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