Internal audit shakes up POKKA's management, puts marketing deal in limbo

After an internal audit, POKKA confirmed to Marketing that it is indeed undergoing changes to its management team.  The change sees Rieko Shofu coming on board as acting CEO for POKKA International. Prior to the move, Shofu served as group CEO and director of POKKA Corporation (Singapore), and director of POKKA International. She was appointed to the role in April this year, according to her bio on the company’s website.

Shofu replaces former CEO Alain Ong, and takes over all his current roles and responsibilities while the audit is taking place. She has also taken over Ong’s portfolio as deputy group CEO of POKKA Corporation (Singapore).Ong currently remains an employee of the company. The group also confirmed the management shakeup is currently ongoing for both POKKA International and POKKA Corporation.

Meanwhile, Ong's spouse, Mediacorp actress Vivian Lai, is also known to be the face of the POKKA brand, working with the brand for over a decade. In 2012, she was reportedly paid SG$1 million in 2012 to continue representing the brand,  several media reported. According to Shin Min Daily News (SMDN), which first reported the news, the amount exceeded what was generally paid to Mediacorp artists. Mediacorp did not comment on the matter and said in a statement that there are no changes to Lai's current contract with POKKA.

Mediacorp added that Lai is "highly popular" being named  at Star Awards 2015 as an All-time Favourite Artiste, an accolade given to artistes after they receive the Top 10 Most Popular award for the tenth time. "She’s witty, engaging, hardworking and professional and makes a great brand ambassador," Karen Yew, head, brand and communications at Mediacorp, said.

When contacted by Marketing about Lai’s endorsement deal, POKKA promptly confirmed that has been “no decision with regards to its future marketing strategy”. The brand added that the new CEO, Shofu, is committed to ensuring the continuity of POKKA’s business operations and to ensuring there is no impact on POKKA’s customers of the management change.

“The management change has been instituted to ensure business operations continue unaffected while an internal audit is conducted,” the statement read.  Marketing has also reached out to Ong and Lai for comment.

Earlier this month, Lai fronted a POKKA advertisement for its Green Tea product promoting the benefits of components as catechins. The spot was promoted both on POKKA’s and Lai’s social media channels and sees Lai telling the viewer how drinking green tea keeps her looking and feeling her best at work.

Since its posting, the spot garnered around 46,000 views on Facebook.

Other than POKKA, Lai has also worked with brands such as Kirei Kirei, Samsung, OSIM and more, read her official page on Facebook.

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