Keppel Integrated Engineering Ltd (KIE), the wholly-owned environmental engineering arm of Keppel Corporation Limited, has appointed BG (NS) Tay Lim Heng (郑林兴) as its Chief Executive Officer with effect from 1 January 2011.
Prior to joining KIE in June this year (barely 6 months ago), Tay had absolutely zero experience in the field of environmental engineering, which includes Waste-to-Energy (Incineration) engineering and Water/Wastewater engineering. Instead, BG (NS) Tay was the Deputy Secretary (Development) of the Ministry of National Development (MND). Prior to that he was the Chief Executive of the Maritime and Port Authority of Singapore and had held various key appointments in the Singapore Armed Forces (SAF).
The construction of Waste-to-Energy plants involves intricate knowledge of civil, mechanical and electrical engineering. Meanwhile, the field of water & wastewater engineering requires intricate knowledge of chemical & water engineering. It is challenging enough for engineers to master ONE of those two businesses, let alone both. Witness, for example, Hyflux's single-minded focus on membrane-based water purification technologies.
Yet, amazingly, according to outgoing CEO Michael Chia, Tay Lim Heng has managed to "[adapt] very quickly to the environmental engineering business" and master both fields within a short span of 6 months, something that would normally take others a life time to do.
KIE is indeed privileged to have an esteemed member of Lee Kuan Yew's "intellectual class" as its captain going forward. I personally look forward to seeing what Scholar-General Tay has up his sleeve as he brings KIE into the 21st century.