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THE chief executive officer of International Enterprise (IE) Singapore, Lee Ark Boon, is leaving on Dec 31 and joining the private sector, the Ministry of Trade and Industry (MTI) said on Tuesday.
The trade promotion agency's current deputy chief Kathy Lai will be acting CEO from Jan 1, 2018 until the formation of Enterprise Singapore in the second quarter of next year.
Enterprise Singapore is the name of the new agency to come from the upcoming merger of IE Singapore and Spring Singapore.
Announced in September, the merger is seen as the answer to the call for a single authority to drive Singapore companies big and small to develop capabilities, innovate, scale up and seize international opportunities.
IE Singapore has been promoting international trade and partnering Singapore companies to go global, while Spring has been helping local start-ups and small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs) develop in areas such as financing and innovation.
Mr Lee is departing just under two years after taking the helm of the agency. MTI said that under his leadership, the agency led initiatives to strengthen the infrastructure ecosystem and transform the wholesale trade sector.
He also played a key role in expanding IE Singapore's presence in new markets like Nairobi and Manila, stepped up collaboration with regional governments and facilitated Singapore's participation in government-to-government projects, such as the Chongqing Connectivity Initiative and the Andhra Pradesh Capital City Project, it said.
Before his current position, he was MTI deputy secretary (trade) where he oversaw the TransPacific Partnership Agreement (TPP), the EU-Singapore Free Trade Agreement (FTA) and the Turkey-Singapore FTA.
He also served in the Ministry of Manpower, National Security Coordination Secretariat, Ministry of Transport, Public Service Division and Ministry of Foreign Affairs.
Ms Lai served three years as chief executive of the National Arts Council and then joined IE Singapore in October last year to take up the No 2 post.