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Honouring business leaders in style
FOR a good three hours on March 31, the Who's Who of corporate Singapore celebrated in style the accomplishments of some peers and companies at The Ritz-Carlton Millenia ballroom with an evening of glitz, good food, wine, and humour; reconnecting with old friends and making new ones.
After all, it was the 31st edition of the Singapore Business Awards (SBA), Singapore's oldest, most prestigious business award. Jointly organised by The Business Times and DHL, the event has come a long way since the first Businessman of the Year award was handed out in 1985.
Ken Lee, chief executive of DHL Express Asia-Pacific, congratulated the winners: "These outstanding business leaders are the inspiration for many people. Despite the headwinds and challenges we witnessed in 2015, they have stood the test of time and have proven their vision and leadership with stellar performances."
Robert Yap, executive chairman of YCH Group bagged the top Businessman of the Year accolade this year, for transforming his homegrown family business into a regional supply chain provider.
Speaking off-the-cuff, Mr Yap said he had been eyeing the award "for many years", drawing laughter from the audience.
Piyush Gupta, named Outstanding Chief Executive of the Year, recalled how he and his family moved to Singapore in 1991.
"While we were not born here, we made Singapore our home by choice. To get this recognition in my adopted land is particularly special, and particularly humbling," the chief of DBS Group Holdings said, before paying tribute to his colleagues and wife Ruchira.
Shafie Shamsuddin of PT Trans Retail (Carrefour Indonesia) snagged the Outstanding Overseas CEO award for his leadership and drive in putting the company back on a firm footing as Indonesia's No 1 hypermarket.
In a display of humility and progressiveness, he shared three key guiding principles - to always be grateful, to always do the right thing, and to always strive to be a better leader every day.
"Inspiring others is challenging. Inspiring ourselves is what we need to do every day," he said.
Household name Jumbo Group was lauded with The Enterprise Award for growing from a single seafood restaurant in 1987 to a network of 17 restaurants in Singapore and China, despite the fierce competition in the food and beverage industry.
Like the other three winners of the night, Ang Kiam Meng, Jumbo's chief executive and executive chairman, paid tribute to his colleagues: "The only reason I stand before you tonight is because of the team at Jumbo. I did not make the journey here alone. Numerous people have had, and continue to support me along the way."