Desmond KUEK is the President and Group Chief Executive Officer of SMRT Corporation Ltd and a Board Member of Shenzhen Zona Transportation Group Co Ltd.

Prior to SMRT, Mr Kuek served in the Singapore Armed Forces from 1982 to 2010, rising steadily through the ranks to the pinnacle leadership positions of Chief of Army in 2003 and Chief of Defence Force in 2007. From 2010 to 2012, Mr Kuek held the appointment of Permanent Secretary in the Ministry of the Environment and Water Resources. He also previously served on the Boards of Singapore Technologies Engineering Ltd and its subsidiaries, Defence Science and Technology Agency, Housing and Development Board, Jurong Town Corporation and International Enterprise Singapore.

He is currently a member of the Civil Service College Board and chairs its Audit Committee. Mr Kuek is also a member of the International Advisory Panel for the Lee Kuan Yew Centre for Innovative Cities at the Singapore University of Technology and Design. He is on the Advisory Committee for the College of Engineering at Nanyang Technological University, and also on the Asia Pacific Japan Advisory Board for SAP Asia Private Limited.

Mr Kuek holds a Master of Arts (Engineering Science) from Oxford University and a Master in Public Administration from Harvard University.


Singapore’s public transport system is an integral part of the fabric of our nation. Transportation is not just about moving people from one point to another; it also involves multiple considerations framed within the larger aim of passenger convenience and connectivity. Recent events have placed the spotlight on the state of health of our ageing network and the imperative of raising service levels to meet a burgeoning population and heightened public expectations.

SMRT President and Group CEO Desmond Kuek left a long career with the military and public service to join the company at a time when it had been shaken by a series of vandalism incidents, train disruptions and an illegal strike by Chinese bus drivers. He will share his insights on leading change in SMRT and the challenges in bringing its various stakeholders and the company on board and on track again.