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Military officer appointed A*Star's first CEO

REAR Admiral (RAdm) Frederick Chew Chih Chiang, 43, will be the first chief executive officer (CEO) in the history of the Agency for Science, Technology and Research (A*Star), taking on the role with effect from Apr 1, 2019, the Ministry of Trade and Industry (MTI) announced on Friday.

He will also be appointed to the agency's board from the same date.

This follows the earlier announcement that A*Star executive chairman Lim Chuan Poh is retiring from the public service on Apr 1. As earlier announced, Permanent Secretary (Education) Chan Lai Fung will be appointed the agency's non-executive chairman from the same date. "Ms Chan will steer A*Star in charting its strategic direction and priorities under the national Research, Innovation and Enterprise (RIE) 2020 plan and guide the planning for RIE2025," said MTI.

Meanwhile, RAdm Chew will assume the executive leadership role and responsibilities of the agency, which include formulating its strategic goals, engaging key government and industry stakeholders, driving the implementation of its strategies, initiatives and programmes, and building its organisational capabilities.

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Said MTI permanent secretary Loh Khum Yean: "I would like to welcome Frederick into the MTI family. With their vast experience across diverse backgrounds, I am confident that Lai Fung and Frederick will be able to take A*Star to greater heights and further its mission of advancing scientific discovery and technological innovation, to create economic growth and improve the lives of Singaporeans."

RAdm Chew is currently Deputy Secretary (Technology) at the Ministry of Defence (Mindef), and will continue to hold this post until "the middle of the year", said MTI. Prior to this role, he held various key positions in Mindef and the Singapore Armed Forces, including director of joint operations, commander of the Maritime Security Task Force and head of naval plans. He is also currently a board member of the Defence Science and Technology Agency and DSO National Laboratories.

MTI also announced other changes to the A*Star board, taking effect on Feb 1, 2019. Joining the board as new members are Nestle S.A science and technology strategy adviser Stefan Catsicas, former Siemens AG chief executive officer of the digital factory division Anton S. Huber, and Ministry of Health Deputy Secretary (Development) Benjamin Koh Khay Wee.

Board members who have stepped down or will be stepping down, upon the completion of their term, are Procter & Gamble retired chief technology officer Bruce Brown, EW Healthcare Partners senior adviser and former Medtronic chairman and CEO William A. Hawkins III, former Siemens AG chief technology officer Siegfried Russwurm, and Ministry of Communications and Information Deputy Secretary (Industry & Information) Tan Li San.