A hot topic lately is SPH Media Trust’s hiring of people for senior management positions.
Discussion around it was kicked off by a Facebook post written by Leslie Fong, a former Straits Times editor. He’d compiled a list of staff in these positions that were formerly in IT services and consulting firm Accenture Singapore.
SPH responded to the discussion recently, by outlining its approach toward talent in an internal memo.
Here’s all you need to know.
The post, made on 4 March by former ST editor Leslie Fong, detailed a list of staff currently in senior management positions at SPH Media that had previously worked for Accenture.
Out of the total number of people, six had some form of affiliation with Accenture—either having worked directly for the company or having had prior experience with it before joining SPH Media. The remaining 15 individuals came from different organisations.
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They were all hired post-takeover by former Accenture chairman Ms Teo Lay Lim, now SPH Media’s CEO, who had worked at the firm for 33 whole years.
She was appointed Executive Director of SPH Media in December 2021, and announced as CEO last year in February.
Since Ms Teo had worked at Accenture for so long, everyone hired to SPH Media would have been her colleague at one point in time.
“Coincidence? You draw your own conclusions, my friends,” said Mr Fong in his Facebook post.
“All staff appointments are undertaken after careful evaluation to ensure that each individual is able to contribute effectively. We will continue to recruit individuals with different perspectives, skills and experience to augment and enrich our talent pool,” wrote the head of human resources, Maureen Wee, in an internal memo.
She also mentioned being impartial towards every member of SPH, citing that they are all valuable regardless of where they came from or how long they have been within the organisation.
“Everyone has a role to play as we navigate the future together,” she said.
SPH Funded By Taxpayers?
In the conclusion of the Facebook post, Mr Fong stated that the company board was “funded by taxpayer money to the tune of $900 million”.
Last February, Minister for Communications and Information Josephine Teo announced in Parliament that the government would fund SPH Media with S$900 million in total, or up to S$180 million per year.
Despite their scandal involving misrepresenting circulation figures, Ms Josephine Teo reaffirmed that the funding would not change.
She noted, however, that SPH Media’s board and management had to be “mindful of their public duties” and had a responsibility to “maintain the public’s trust in their newsrooms and journalists”.
A government-funded media also raises concerns about press freedom—Singapore was ranked 139 out of 180 countries in a global press-freedom ranking in 2022, and the extra government funding for mainstream media might exacerbate this issue.
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