Monday, August 15, 2005

Why did 'unsatisfactory' Kuan remain for 27 months?

Why did 'unsatisfactory' Kuan remain for 27 months? -TODAY

The article, "Kuan's appraisal ghosts" (Aug 12), highlights some interesting but worrisome facts — not so much as to whether Presidential hopeful, Mr Andrew Kuan, is fit to run for the office, but rather, the competency of those who are managing the coffers of the various government entities, statutory boards and GLCs.

Mr Kuan's performance was reportedly found to be "unsatisfactory" in April 2002. However, his next appraisal was only done some 15 months later — July 2003.

This is unusual for someone at his level (CFO of a multi-million dollar company) — as industry practice for people even more junior will subject such "under-performers" to shorter periodic reviews (between three to six months).

Even more puzzling is the fact that despite his "unsatisfactory" performance, he was allowed to remain in the company for 27 months after the appraisal (till July 2004).

This begs the question on how many such "under-performing" CFOs had been/are still running the country's hard-earned reserves, just because these government entities are "employers with a heart" — if at the taxpayers' expense.

Jeffrey Ho Loon Poh

Just like the NKF TT saga, most jus point the finger at the person involved and goes on from there, they do not see that the core of the problem lies in the organization itself, it lies in the board of directors.

Since he was so bad, why did they not sack him after the first appraisal? ok, everyone deserves a second chance, so maybe he will do better after warning.. true enough.. but leaving their so-called "needs too much hand-holding" person in charge for 27 months?! that's more than 2 years.. after one financial year if a person cant perform, it's high time to let him go. but for more than two whole financial years. It's either the folks at JTC are damn kind (Kuan has a family to feed man, maybe even a sick parent or two.. haha.. jkjk) or it's the red tapes again.

I prefer small organizations at times, coz they are small, decisions can be made with a snap of the finger, and things can be done in a jiffy. Big companies are cumbersome, have to fill in this form, wait for that person to sign, then fill in another form, wait for this other person to sign.. and it goes on and on.. have to protect the company's interest mah, they have more to lose if it comes down to lawsuits.

Another thing, the board are the ones who employed Kuan, maybe they tried to give him a chance to prove that their decision are right when they employed him. Kuan must had great interview skills, if he's really as bad as they made him out to be.. if not, why would they believe his words and employ him in the first place?

True, there are really only so much u can find out during an interview (wellz I smoked my way through and I'm comfortably sitting in my office now, blogging :P), but what about his past credentials? It's a post of CFO of a huge company, shouldn't they call up his previous employers and check up on his past? I think that's a very basic thing to do. Other than that, my boss told me once, the upper management pool in Singapore is only so big, so jus ask around, and you'll find someone who had worked with the other person and you can find out more about them. So again, it's either Kuan had amazing acting skills, or JTC interviewers are gullible, or they forgot to check out his past through other means.

If JTC can be so, then what about the other big companies?? Private companies are not much of our concern, coz to them, it's the bottom-line. And if someone cant perform, you can be sure it's the boot for them. But for government-owned companies, for NGOs, for stat boards even.. That is a matter of concern for all of us.


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