SMRT Corporation Ltd.

New Executive Vice-President Lee Ling Wee Sets His Sight on Re-Engineering SMRT Trains

Press Release   •   Jun 20, 2013 17:00 SGT

New organisational structure to build bandwidth, capacity and competencies in getting SMRT on track

20 June 2013 - SMRT’s Senior Vice-President for Maintenance & Engineering Mr Lee Ling Wee has been appointed the new Executive Vice-President (EVP) for SMRT Trains. Mr Lee’s appointment took effect from 17 June 2013, following former EVP for SMRT Trains Mr Khoo Hean Siang’s relinquishment of the role on 16 June 2013. Mr Khoo, 65, has retired after serving SMRT for more than 25 years. As EVP for SMRT Trains, Mr Lee will be responsible in leading and managing all matters of Train Operations, Engineering and Maintenance for the North-South and East-West lines, Circle Line, and Bukit Panjang LRT.

At his inaugural leadership address to all staff of the SMRT Trains group today, Mr Lee, 47, outlined his key immediate and long term action plans for SMRT Trains, which includes highlighting the “Four Key Priorities” (Safety, Reliability, Capacity and Commuter Experience) as SMRT Train’s priority deliverables as well as a reorganisation of the Group’s structure.

Re-engineering SMRT Trains

To meet the future demands placed on the system, the need to realign SMRT Train’s organisational structure by building internal bandwidth is critical. This will create capacity within the system, and enable SMRT to identify and grow a strong pipeline of competent and committed professionals.

To support this drive towards competency development, the SMRT Trains Group will be restructured to encourage cross-functional learning as well as operational priorities. The new structure will comprise the following components:

i.        Operations Group: The Train and Station operations will continue to be the core parts of SMRT Trains. The group will be led by a Senior Vice President of Operations, supported by three Vice Presidents each in charge of key operational areas for the North-South and East-West lines, Circle Line and Operations Maintenance for both lines.

Under the new structure, each line operational unit will be embedded with its own first-line maintenance function, with the purpose of improving unit integration and allowing for more direct control over routine maintenance functions. This will mean that the new operations group will be able to flag and address all maintenance-related issues with immediacy without having the need to go through processes with a separate maintenance unit.

ii.        Systems and Engineering Group: Beyond the need to address short term issues such as possible rail cracks and re-signalling, a key factor to ensure sustainability rests on establishing bandwidth to identify and manage long-term issues such as asset management.

An integrated project planning team will be created as part of the Systems and Engineering Group to overwatch project planning and integration, and to examine all joint LTA-SMRT projects as well as coordinate and organise support local and overseas business development-related opportunities. In addition, the group will continue to work towards reinforcing and building the five existing technical domain pillars of Stations & Facilities, Rolling Stock, Permanent Way, Signalling & communications, and Power, to ensure that deep expertise is maintained within the organisation.

iii.    Trains Planning and Support Group: This group will comprise all important supporting functions not directly involved with day-to-day operations, such as human resource-related roles, financial reporting and resource functions.

iv.      Trains Inspectorate: A new inspectorate will be created to help ensure that the reorganisation makes positive headway as designed. The inspectorate will be responsible for maintaining system-wide checks and balances encompassing the Train Group’s safety, quality assurance, and knowledge management initiatives. Three teams within the inspectorate will each champion the focus areas of safety processes and outcomes (Safety Department); ensuring the integrity of engineering practices, project management and contract procurement (Quality Assurance Team); and of driving a systematic capture of knowledge across the entire Trains Business Unit (Knowledge Management Team).

Stepping into his new appointment, Mr Lee paid tribute to the dedicated men and women who work day and night all these years to fly the SMRT flag, and said he is honoured to have joined the SMRT family. Looking forward to working hand-in-hand with each of his staff in tackling the many challenges that lie ahead, he said, “These are the first steps, but fundamental steps, in preparing for the future. I strongly believe that the realignment of our organisation is the way forward to rise to the challenges we are facing that are posed by a growth in population, an increase in ridership, and an ageing rail infrastructure. At the same time, we must hold our principle of maintaining an open culture close, and must also let our four key priorities be the fundamentals of our business so we will set ourselves on stronger ground towards once again being celebrated as a world class transport service provider.”


SMRT Corporation Ltd (SMRT) is Singapore’s premier multi-modal public transport operator. SMRT serves millions of passengers daily by offering a safe, reliable and comprehensive transport network that consists of an extensive MRT and light rail system which connects seamlessly with its island-wide bus and taxi operations. SMRT also markets and leases the commercial and media spaces within its transport network, and offers engineering consultancy and project management as well as operations and maintenance services, locally and internationally.