Sunday, September 27, 2009

Former Aware president Josie Lau leaves DBS

SINGAPORE: The former president of the Association of Women for Action and Research (Aware), Ms Josie Lau, has left DBS Bank and joined hospitality group Overseas Union Enterprise (OUE).

She is now vice-president for centre management at Mandarin Gallery, where she oversees operations and marketing for the new premier shopping mall, Weekend TODAY has learnt.

The 48-year-old was thrust into the limelight in March, when she became embroiled in a leadership tussle at Aware. Her decision to take on the role of president of the women's advocacy group earned her a public rebuke from DBS for ignoring its code of conduct.

At the time, she was DBS' head of marketing, cards and unsecured loans, becoming its vice-president for network planning and deployment in May prior to her resignation.

Ms Lau, who started her new job on Thursday, said she took it because it "allows me to leverage on all my past work experience and my love for fashion retail and marketing".

OUE chief executive Thio Gim Hock said Ms Lau had "expressed her desire to look for new pastures", and he felt she might be suitable for the post. "I asked her to send in her CV and forwarded (it) to the senior vice-president (of) leasing, who interviewed her."

Mr Thio is married to lawyer Thio Su Mien, who had encouraged Ms Lau to get involved in Aware. They attend the same church, but Ms Lau stressed her hiring was "based on my merit".

Likewise Mr Thio - who has known Ms Lau, "though not very well", for over 10 years - said: "It's easier and more desirable to employ people you already know ... Her getting the job was entirely due to her experience, qualification and personality."

Mr Thio also noted Ms Lau's "traumatic experience" during the Aware saga which included "having her employer threatening to sack her".

When contacted, a DBS spokesman said: "Ms Lau decided to leave DBS to pursue other opportunities. It was a personal decision, and we wish her the best in her new endeavours."

[I guess this will be another evidence that the newspapers are out to get Josie. But it is news of interest. And lends support to the idea that the ingroup will protect each other. Stilll, she needs to make a living and I can only imagine how the environment at DBS was for her.]

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