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Inchcape Singapore's first woman MD to also head Greater China business

JASMMINE Wong, Inchcape Singapore's first woman managing director, has been appointed chief executive of Inchcape Greater China and Singapore - just two years after being picked to run the motor group here.

The appointment - the first to combine the two Inchcape territories - is effective from Jan 1 next year. Greater China covers Hong Kong, Macau and the mainland.

In a company statement on Monday, Inchcape said Ms Wong, 43, will continue to run the Singapore business as MD, and reports to Mr George Ashford, Inchcape's chief executive of Asia.

Speaking to The Straits Times on Monday, she said, "I feel grateful to be recognised for this bigger role, especially when both Hong Kong and Singapore are important markets to Inchcape.

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"There is a lot to be done, and hopefully I can contribute meaningfully."

Ms Wong joined the motor distributor and retailer from Nestle in July 2017, amid a reshuffle that resulted in redundancies in Singapore and Hong Kong.

Despite having no automotive experience, she made her mark within a relatively short time on board. Last year, Inchcape's Toyota agent Borneo Motors attained Toyota's Triple Crown award for industry-leading sales in passenger vehicle, commercial vehicle and taxi sales - its first in nearly a decade.

Ms Wong's achievements go beyond the financial. Borneo Motors has partnered para swimmer Toh Wei Soong to promote equal opportunities in sports and workplace. It has also teamed up with transport provider ComfortDelGro to trial an autonomous shuttle service in National University of Singapore campus.

Ms Wong holds dual master's degrees from Insead and Tsinghua University, with a Bachelor of Business Studies from Nanyang Technological University.

Earlier this month, parent group Inchcape PLC reported a group revenue £2.4 billion (S$4.2 billion) for its third quarter ended September - up 5 per cent in actual currency and 3 per cent in constant currency.

The group, however, reported that its Asian business had seen a "small decline in revenue with a weaker Singapore commercial vehicle market and impact from Hong Kong protests".

But it added that profit would be supported by after-sales growth and "strong cost control".

Inchcape also announced that it has acquired the Daimler distribution in Uruguay and Ecuador for £47 million - its first distribution business with the Mercedes-Benz group.