The past two years had been of great chaos for SingPost as it endured a significant management upheaval, a special audit, massive impairment of an overseas acquisition and adjustment of a long-standing company dividend policy. For a country that prides itself of being world-class efficient, the mess in Singapore’s national postman certainly raised a lot of eyebrows among concerned investors.
On looking back, the appointment of Dr Wolfgang Baier as CEO back in 2011 could be a knee-jerk attempt to re-invent the mailing company into an e-commerce company in light of consistently falling revenue from domestic mails. His appointment was itself surprising given his young age and the perceived lack of C-suite experience.
When Wolfgang was appointed as CEO, he was only 37 and was from a management consulting firm, McKinsey & Company. Given SingPost’s venerable standing in the industry, attracting a more experienced business leader should not be a challenge. To be frank, I have no objections to foreign talents taking on top positions in Singapore companies. However, Wolfgang lasted only four years and resigned abruptly in end 2015, leaving Mr Mervyn Lim to cover his CEO duties for one year.
During Wolfgang’s tenure, SingPost had mixed financial performance, with net profit falling from $160 million in 2011 to $141 million in 2013 and then rising to $161 million in 2015. SingPost also did not progress nor transformed itself into an eCommerce player as envisioned under his leadership.
Nevertheless, the appointment of Wolfgang seemed to have a positive effect in the stock market as the share price surged from $1.10 in 2011 to a record high of $2.14. Those who bought the shares in 2011 and sold them off in 2014 would have made about 100% profit. But then things started to turn unexpectedly sour as SingPost navigated through unchartered waters.
During Wolfgang’s reign, two assets were acquired and they nearly pushed SingPost to the brink of disaster. In late 2015, a special [This is a premium article. The rest of the content is blocked and can be accessible by SG Wealth Builder Members only. To read the full content, please sign up as member.]
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