Ms. Tan Ai Ling, previously from StarHub, will take over as SMRT's Chief of Human Resources from Mr. Tan Kian Heong.

Rail operator SMRT Corp's Chief of Human Resources Tan Kian Heong will relinquish his post, one of his two roles in the company, just 10 months after being appointed to the hot seat. Taking over from Mr. Tan, who will continue his other role as president of SMRT Roads, will be Ms. Tan Ai Ling, previously from StarHub, where she had been Vice President of HR.

The move comes in a bid to steady human resources after a wave of resignations Mr. Tan took over the HR function after Mr. Gerard Koh, the group's Chief Corporate Officer in charge of information technology, procurement, human resources and training, tendered his resignation in August last year. Mr. Koh's resignation - just a week after former Chief Executive Desmond Kuek stepped down - triggered a wave of departures, with some 30 executives in SMRT's HR department having quit since. They have joined organisations such as Singtel, NCS, A*Star, Sats and Maybank.

In response to queries from The Straits Times, an SMRT spokesman said, "From 1 June, Ms. Tan Ai Ling will assume the role of Group Chief Human Resources Officer. Prior to June, Mr. Tan Kian Heong... has been double-hatting as Group Chief Human Resources Officer since August 2018."

SMRT said Ms. Tan joined the group on 15 Jan this year as Director, HR policy and human capital management, adding that she has had more than two decades of experience in HR, and has 'held various leadership positions in large organisations'.  According to her LinkedIn profile, Ms. Tan had been with StarHub as early as 2004, but left for insurer Aviva in 2007, before returning to the telco in 2008.

Last year, SMRT hired Mr. Clifford Keong and Ms. Lee Yem Choo - both Singapore Armed Forces colonels previously - to fill HR roles. Mr. Keong was head of HR for SMRT Trains, while Ms. Lee was head of HR for SMRT's Thomson-East Coast Line division. According to insiders, both were seen as potential candidates for the top HR post. Mr. David Leong, Managing Director of human resource firm PeopleWorldwide Consulting, said, "The incoming chief must be able to manage the size and structure of SMRT. Coming from another large organisation, she can provide fresh inputs to the complex HR issues in SMRT."