Star Media Group names Kang Yew Jin COO with a slew of promotions to follow

Star Media Group has promoted group CTO Kang Yew Jin to COO, digital and print, according to an internal memo seen by A+M. The technology, analytics, circulation, and production departments now report to him. Kang (pictured) has been the group CTO for close to three years, according to his LinkedIn, focusing on the digital transformation of Star Media Group including traditional print business, events business, property business, and traditional radio. In that role, he also oversaw digital improvements of digital-focused businesses such as streaming video and its OTT service dimsum, as well as the online and mobile news portals, his LinkedIn said. 

Prior to Star Media Group, Kang was with Hong Leong Bank as chief information officer for more than two years. During his time there, he managed IT for the bank which included group infrastructure services and oversaw international offices in Singapore, Vietnam, and Cambodia, according to his LinkedIn. Kang also worked at OCBC Bank, AmBank, IBM Global Services, MetLife, and Accenture.

Alongside his promotion were two other appointments. According to the internal memo, Kevin Seng, assistant GM, IT services, has been promoted to GM, technology to lead the technology department, while Calvin Tan, acting assistant manager, marketing, has been elevated to manager, marketing.

Meanwhile in a separate internal memo seen by A+M, group CFO Sam Au said the Group has created a new subsidiary named Star Publications (SPSB). This is part of its aim to "realign the business structure of Star Media Group and ideally to become a pure investment holding company", he explained. Moving forward, SPSB will handle the printing and distribution of The Daily and Sunday Star under the new publication permits. At the same time, the news desk has also seen new appointments and reassignments. Brian Martin has been appointed managing editor while Michelle Tam is now acting editor, online and leads, the internal memo said. Senior editor Asohan Aryaduray has been reassigned to the newsdesk. Star Media Group's spokesperson confirmed the appointments as well as the creation of the new subsidiary to A+M

The appointments came after the Group underwent a retrenchment exercise during the fourth quarter of last year after its mutual separation scheme "did not yield the expected headcount reduction that would have helped the Group cushion the impact of the sustained soft business", Au said in a previous internal memo seen by A+M then. The exercise sought to meet its intended staff cost reduction targets and was a result of the constant disruptions to the media industry, mainly from digital elements, as well as due to the prolonged of COVID-19. According to the previous internal memo, the retrenchment exercise was to conclude by the end of last year. In a statement to A+M, Star Media Group's spokesperson said about 70 employees from various departments were affected but did not comment further.

While Star Media Group has yet to release its fourth quarter results for 2020, it posted a net profit of RM26.92 million during the third quarter of 2020 (Q3 2020) ended 30 September, compared to RM250,000 in Q3 2019. This was mainly due to the compensation income for the late delivery of vacant possession of the investment property under construction from Jaks Island Circle amounting to RM50.54 million, the Bursa filing said. That said, its quarterly revenue dipped from RM79.58 million in Q3 2019 to RM48.21 million.

Meanwhile, its print and digital business recorded a profit before tax of RM33.67 million in Q3 2020 as compared to a loss before tax of RM0.28 million during the third quarter of 2019. This was due to the recognition of compensation income of the investment property under construction from Jaks Island Circle. The segment revenue dipped to RM42.67 million during the third quarter last year from RM67.58 million in Q3 2019, with many companies still cautious about ad spend due to COVID-19 and the Movement Control Order. 

Star Media Group's radio segment recorded a loss of RM380,000 in Q3 2020 compared to RM90,000 in Q3 2019. The decline was mainly attributed to cautious spending by advertisers and subdued advertising market due to the COVID-19 pandemic. At the same time, its event and exhibition segment recorded a loss before tax of RM780,000 in Q3 2020 as compared to profit before tax of RM730,000 in Q3 2019. The pandemic and prolonged Movement Control Orders have led many of its offline events to be cancelled.

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