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Changi Airport Group CEO steps down, replacement named

Changi Airport Group CEO steps down, replacement named

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After 15 years as chief executive officer (CEO) at Changi Airport Group (CAG), Lee Seow Hiang (pictured left) will be stepping down from the role as of 1 July 2024, according to CAG in a statement. 

He will also step down as a director on the CAG Board and as chairman of the boards of Changi Airports International (CAI) and Jewel Changi Airport Devt.

The CAG Board has appointed Yam Kum Weng (pictured right) to succeed Lee as CEO of CAG. Yam will also be appointed a director of the CAG board and as chairman of the CAI Board with effect from 1 July 2024.

Yam is currently CAG’s executive vice president or airport development, leading the Changi East project including Terminal 5 (T5).

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As part of CAG’s executive management team, he plays an instrumental role in providing strategic guidance in all financial, operational, and air hub development functions and ensures that the strategic goals of CAG are clearly set out to drive growth and transformation.

Lee on the other hand was appointed the founding CEO of CAG when Changi Airport was corporatised on 1 July 2009. In the 15 years that followed, CAG made great strides in the development of Changi as a premier air hub.

During this time, CAG also marked major milestones such as the launch of Terminal 4, the upgrading and expansion of Terminals 1 and 2 and the development of Jewel Changi Airport which opened its doors in 2019. These large infrastructure projects increased Changi Airport’s handling capacity by 23% to 90 million passenger movements per annum, according to CAG. 

Over the last 10 years, Lee also laid the foundations of the future Changi East development including T5. Following a two-year pandemic-related pause, work on the development has resumed and is making good progress with groundbreaking to take place next year.

“The board directors and I thank Lee for his immense contributions to CAG and Changi Airport. In the last decade and a half, Seow Hiang’s vision transformed Changi into the airport it is today – a strong air hub with an extensive network of city links, providing an extraordinary experience and supporting Singapore’s economy," said Tan Gee Paw, Chairman of CAG

"As CEO, Lee kept CAG financially strong, and stable during the pandemic years. We are especially appreciative of his management during the Covid-19 period which saw travel demand plummet and CAG’s business fundamentals severely impacted," he said.

He added that despite the many challenges, Lee, with the support of his colleagues and airport partners, steered the company through the crisis and that it has emerged in better shape.

"It is to the credit of CAG’s management team led by Lee, that Changi Airport’s passenger traffic has already surpassed 2019’s pre-pandemic levels in February and March 2024,” said Tan.

Tan explained that in considering a replacement for Lee, the Board carefully reviewed its options, recognising that Changi Airport is a critical infrastructure, and that leadership continuity is vital to take forward CAG’s plans. 

“The board is confident that Yam, as a senior executive with many years of experience leading Singapore’s air hub development and airport management in both the Civil Aviation Authority of Singapore and CAG, is best suited to anchor the twin challenges of running an operationally-intensive airport while ensuring the success of the Changi East/ T5 programme," said Tan.

"He has a deep appreciation of the interests of the Singapore air hub and Changi Airport’s strategic role, and strong operational experience to ensure Changi Airport continues to run smoothly. With his strong ties with aviation partners, Yam is well-placed to work synergistically with them to grow Changi Airport as a key air hub and a leading international airport,” added Tan. 

Yam started his career with the Civil Aviation Authority of Singapore. He took on various roles and was appointed director of airport management in 2001, leading efforts to deliver consistent quality service and high safety standards.

He subsequently took on the position of director air transport, driving the growth of Singapore’s Air Hub. Leveraging his strength to build trust and relationships with airlines and government authorities, he formulated aviation policy, facilitated the start-up of low-cost carrier operations in Singapore and led air services negotiations to liberalise air traffic rights with major countries, CAG said.

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