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Hong Kong data centre VP to join embattled Datapulse as new CEO

EMBATTLED disk drive maker Datapulse Technology is getting a new chief executive.

Wilson Teng Wai Leung will join the mainboard-listed Datapulse as CEO and executive director on March 8, the company said on Thursday.

His predecessor, Kee Swee Ann, had quit just weeks prior - and barely a month after taking the job.

Datapulse chief financial officer Lee Kam Seng, who also goes by "Michael", has been serving as interim CEO.

The newcomer, Mr Teng, 53, is vice-president of sales and business development at data centre service provider iAdvantage, a unit of Hong Kong-listed Sunevision Holdings.

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He was previously global sales director at Digital Realty from 2014 to 2016, and Asia-Pacific regional director at GTT Communications from 2007 to 2013. Both positions were based in Hong Kong.

Datapulse acknowledged that Mr Teng, whose principal place of residence is Hong Kong, "does not have the relevant experience as a director of a public listed company", but will attend the relevant training in Singapore.

The board of directors also commented in its Singapore Exchange announcement that it has "duly considered the matter" and is of the view that Mr Teng, "being a seasoned business executive, has the requisite corporate experience to act as the chief executive officer and lead the company's management team".

Datapulse has been roiled by a tussle between its directors - most of whom were appointed in December 2017, after a new controlling shareholder took the reins - and the family of company co-founder Ng Khim Guan, who are also shareholders.

Mr Ng's daughter, Ng Bie Tjin, has led a bid to oust the board over the acquisition of a Malaysian personal care product business from a vendor with ties to the new controlling shareholder and to Mr Kee, the previous CEO.

Mr Kee announced his resignation on Jan 30 and left three days later.

According to Datapulse, "recent events surrounding the company" had taken their toll on his health.

But Datapulse also said at the time that Mr Kee would remain a consultant to advise and assist the company on matters related to the acquisition, "for such period to be mutually agreed and pending further developments".

The board also said at the time of Mr Kee's departure that it would consider the appointment of a permanent CEO "once there is more clarity on the future business direction and strategy" of the company.

Datapulse said on Wednesday that it would convene by April 27 an extraordinary general meeting, requisitioned by the Ngs, to halt the company's business diversification and change the composition of the board.

The counter closed lower by half a Singapore cent, or 1.56 per cent, at S$0.315, before the announcement.

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