Appointment of new Chief Executive Officer of the National Arts Council


The Ministry of Culture, Community and Youth will appoint Ms Kathy Lai as Chief Executive Officer (CEO) of the National Arts Council (NAC) with effect from 1 November 2013. Ms Lai takes over the helm from former NAC CEO Benson Puah, who relinquished his position on 1 August 2013. Ms Yvonne Tham, currently covering CEO of NAC, will continue as Deputy CEO from 1 November 2013. 


2 Ms Lai, 48, currently Assistant CEO of IE Singapore, is a committed and self-driven leader with more than 20 years of experience in international trade, public sector administration and governance. A skilled administrator with a love for the arts, she is well equipped to lead the NAC team as it continues to create the conditions for the arts to flourish. Her strong networks with diverse stakeholder groups and government agencies will help the NAC forge new partnerships.


3 Ms Lai has been Assistant CEO of IE Singapore since 2007. She joined the Ministry of Trade and Industry (MTI) in 1987 and joined the former Trade Development Board (TDB), now IE Singapore, in 1996. At IE Singapore, she was posted to the Singapore Embassy in Washington D.C. for a 6-year stint. After returning to Singapore, Ms Lai managed international operations in South Asia, Middle East, Africa, Europe and America, as well as IE Singapore’s corporate development group. Ms Lai has spearheaded several partnerships with stakeholders in IE Singapore, including its collaboration with the Singapore Management University to start the university’s International Trading Institute. She is a Director of IE Singapore Holdings Board and sits on SPRING’s Board of Directors.


4 Ms Lai has a strong personal interest in the arts. She has been involved in the arts as a student of music and is a competent pianist. As an adult, Ms Lai learned to play the gamelan. She collects art, is an avid reader of contemporary literature, and enjoys the performing arts. With her extensive experience in the public sector and strong interest in the arts, Ms Lai will be able to lead NAC in engaging artists, arts groups and its stakeholders to develop and promote the arts and culture in Singapore and beyond.