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Tan Hui Yee
Tue, Dec 25, 2007
The Straits Times
BreadTalk hires senior educator to be group CEO

FOOD company BreadTalk has roped in an education veteran for its senior management team.

Mr Goh Tong Pak, the deputy director for the Ministry of Education's (MOE's) school appraisal branch, will be made group chief executive officer (CEO) with effect from Jan 1.

'I was approached by another one or two companies. But I joined BreadTalk since I knew George and I was interested in this. This is my second career.' - MR GOH, on the job switch

'I need someone to think outside the box.' - MR QUEK, BreadTalk's chairman, on Mr Goh joining the team. He said having someone from outside the food industry will bring a fresh perspective to the firm.

The newly created post will require him to oversee BreadTalk's entire operations, including those in China and Singapore.

'He will also strategise on systems and talent development within the group,' the company said in a statement yesterday.

The group is best known for its six-year-old chain of bakery outlets in Singapore, which started the craze over pork floss buns in 2001.

It now has more than 150 bakery outlets in Singapore, China and other countries. It also runs the popular Din Tai Fung restaurant chain and eateries at St James Powerhouse.

Mr Goh, 61, has more than 30 years of professional and educational management experience. He headed Xinmin Secondary from 1992 to 1997 and was known for turning the underachieving neighbourhood school into one of the top institutions in Singapore. As deputy director of the MOE's school appraisal branch, he was responsible for monitoring, evaluating and improving more than 300 schools in Singapore.

He also lectures part-time for the master's degree course in educational administration at the National Institute of Education.

Mr Goh holds an honours degree in arts from the former Nanyang University and a post-graduate diploma in education from the National Institute of Education.

He told The Straits Times yesterday that BreadTalk chairman George Quek - an old boy of Xinmin - approached him about two years ago to join the company.

The two men got to know each other when Mr Goh gave a talk to a study group formed by various bosses of some small and medium-sized enterprises. He said he had been due to retire from the ministry in about a year but decided to do so earlier as a replacement for his post has been found.

He will use his experience in administering the schools monitoring system to enhance BreadTalk's quality control procedures.

'I was approached by another one or two companies. But I joined BreadTalk since I knew George and I was interested in this. This is my second career,' added Mr Goh.

Mr Quek told The Straits Times that Mr Goh's strength lay in his ability to develop talent and hoped he would be able to rally BreadTalk's around 2,000 employees to meet the company's objectives.

Having someone from outside the food industry will also bring a fresh perspective to the firm. 'I need someone to think outside the box,' he said.

Mr Quek added that having Mr Goh in BreadTalk will free him to focus on aspects like brand development and sourcing for new markets.

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