SPH Magazines lead Eugene Wee takes on chief customer officer role

Singapore Press Holdings (SPH) has appointed Eugene Wee as its chief customer officer. In a statement to MARKETING-INTERACTIVE, a spokesperson from SPH said Wee (pictured) will oversee divisions and functions that interface with its audience. This includes Circulation, SPHRewards programme, and customer service, among others. In this newly-created role, Wee will report to Anthony Tan, deputy CEO at SPH.

Wee's appointment comes less than half a year after he took on the role of head of SPH Magazines. He will be double-hatting the roles of chief customer officer and head of SPH Magazines, and will report to deputy CEO Anthony Tan. Meanwhile, SPH has appointed Chan Cheow Pong to take over Wee's former duties as head of media strategy. Prior to this, Chan was the assistant vice president of media strategy and analytics.

When appointed head of SPH Magazines, SPH said Wee is “well positioned” to lead the unit given his career as a journalist, and having held leadership roles such as editor of The New Paper and Sunday editor of The Straits Times. Wee first joined SPH in 1999 as a journalist for The New Paper, and has been with SPH for approximately 22 years. He climbed his way up the ranks and was appointed as head of media strategy in 2020, according to his LinkedIn. 

Wee's latest appointment comes amidst various changes that SPH took on in the past few months. Last August, SPH restructured its media sales and magazines operations as part of its media transformation roadmap and to address the impact of COVID-19 on its advertising revenue. The exercise affected about 140 staff from its Media Solutions Division (MSD) and SPH Magazines, which made up about 5% of the overall media group’s headcount. SPH also exited the magazine business in Malaysia, and creased publications of Cleo, Young Parent and Shape. SPH predicted then that the exercise will incur retrenchment costs of approximately SG$8 million. Additionally, SPH said that it started a review of its media business last year to provide advertisers with more effective marketing solutions by adopting an integrated sales approach across its different platforms and titles.

SPH also refreshed its publication The Straits Times, giving it a new look that focuses on multimedia content and trending topics. The change came after SPH CEO, Ng Yat Chung, previously said its media business is badly affected by the collapse in advertising. However, the company also saw a 9.4% growth in circulation numbers from its digital products. "We are intensifying our digitalisation efforts to transform the news content business in response to evolving demands from our audience," Ng said, adding that SPH will continue to take a "prudent and disciplined" approach to liquidity and capital management to weather the COVID-19 crisis.

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