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Heeton appoints its first non-family CEO

FOR the first time, boutique developer Heeton Holdings has appointed a non-family CEO.

The family-run and mainboard-listed group said on Monday that Eric Teng Heng Chew will be appointed as an executive director and CEO of the company with effect from Jan 4.

Its existing CEO cum managing director Toh Giap Eng will relinquish his duties as CEO and assume a newly created role of executive deputy chairman.

Mr Teng will be responsible for the execution of the Board's strategies and plans. He will also oversee the day-to-day operations and management of the group while building the capabilities of the management and staff.

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Prior to joining Heeton, Mr Teng has been the adviser at the Straits Trading Company Limited since January 2014. He was its CEO for Property and Hospitality divisions in 2010 and 2011 respectively till 2013. From 2005 to 2009, Mr Teng was with the Tecity Group and Tan Chin Tuan Foundation.

Mr Teng said that as the group's new CEO, he shares the same concerns as the shareholders on some of the group's imminent challenges, of which some are partly due to the overall business environment.

Still, there are some challenges that are within the management's control. "I hope to resolve these challenges and build sustainable growth for the group," he said.

Mr Toh conceded that many studies have shown that a majority of Asian family-owned businesses will typically plan their leadership succession within family members.

"However, we strongly believe that leadership should not be restricted to only family members and as such, have taken the bold step to appoint our first non-family CEO to further enhance the current leadership qualities," he said. "This also sets the platform to 'professionalise' our future succession practices when considering management candidates."