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Ambassador-at-Large Prof Chan Heng Chee steps down as SUTD LKYCIC’s Chair; Former HDB CEO Dr Cheong Koon Hean to take over

25 Jan 2021

Ambassador-at-Large Professor Chan Heng Chee will be relinquishing her position as Chairman of the Lee Kuan Yew Centre for Innovative Cities (LKYCIC) at the Singapore University of Technology and Design (SUTD) on 14 June 2021. Taking over the appointment will be Dr Cheong Koon Hean, former Housing Development Board’s Chief Executive Officer, on 15 June 2021.
 
Prof Chan has been the founding chair of LKYCIC since its establishment in late 2012. During her tenure the Centre has gained wide recognition for its multidisciplinary work and thought-leadership on critical issues concerning cities, urbanisation, the impact of technology on society, the economy, ageing and the built environment. She has been a strong advocate of the idea that urban solutions must integrate the use of technology, design and the social sciences. Her leadership and standing has enabled the Centre to engage and partner a wide range of stakeholders, from think-tanks to leading academic institutions, and government agencies. LKYCIC and IMD, Switzerland, also collaborated to produce the Smart City Index.
 
In 2014, Prof Chan led SUTD in a collaboration with Singapore’s JTC Corporation (JTC) to jointly set up the SUTD-JTC Industrial Infrastructure Innovation (SUTD-JTC I3) Centre, which aims to promote the development of innovative and sustainable industrial infrastructure solutions in Singapore. In 2018, she worked with Humanities, Arts and Social Sciences cluster in SUTD to establish a new post-graduate programme, the Master of Science in Urban Science, Policy and Planning, to educate students to have a better grasp of urban issues and data science and computational tools for analysis.
 
Prof Chan said: “Joining SUTD and starting up the LKYCIC has been a transforming experience for me. Thinking about cities is a whole new and fresh field after years of diplomacy, and the multidisciplinary approach has keep my thought pattern young. With my team we focused on policy relevant research.”
 
Prof Chan will remain as a Professor at LKYCIC after stepping down, continuing her research. 
 
SUTD President, Professor Chong Tow Chong said: “SUTD is truly grateful to Prof Chan for her deep insights and myriad life experiences, which have been instrumental in helping develop LKYCIC and the University. Under her leadership, LKYCIC has grown from strength to strength in advancing research and thought leadership in cities and urban development. As a key member of the senior academic leadership in SUTD, she has made significant contributions to SUTD in strategic growth direction including human capital development.” 
 
Taking over as Chairman from Prof Chan is Dr Cheong Koon Hean, who will additionally be appointed Professor of Practice in SUTD. Dr Cheong stepped down as HDB CEO on 1 January 2021. She has had a long and illustrious career in shaping cities and urbanisation, having played a key role in the urban transformation of Singapore. She was the CEO of HDB for the last 10 years, introducing a new generation of well-designed, community centric, sustainable and smart public housing and formulating multiple policies that has enabled access to affordable housing.  Before joining HDB, Dr Cheong was the CEO of the Urban Redevelopment Authority (URA) from 2004 to 2010 and was a key driver of major growth areas such as Marina Bay. She was also concurrently appointed to be the Deputy Secretary of the Ministry of National Development (MND) for 16 years from 2001 to 2016. Currently, she is the Chairman of the Centre for Liveable Cities under the MND.
 
When asked about her thoughts on joining the LKYCIC, Dr Cheong said “I am honoured to succeed Prof Chan and to build upon the good foundation laid by her. Today, cities face complex and multiple challenges requiring integrated solutions. LKYCIC can be a thought leader that study in depth and distil lessons from around the world. In particular, SUTD’s transdisciplinary approach is a strength that we can harness to advance innovative urban solutions for making better cities, to improve the quality of life of their people.”
 
Prof Chong added: “With her extensive experience overseeing the development and transformation of Singapore in smart public housing and sustainable urbanisation, we believe that Dr Cheong would be an invaluable addition to SUTD and LKYCIC. We look forward to her strategic leadership in taking LKYCIC to greater heights.”


See also: Dr Cheong's detailed CV