Arthur Kiong cited as visionary leader for championing Singaporean hospitality

At Far East Hospitality, Arthur Kiong’s vision and his ability to translate it into action have made him an outstanding leader. 

Courage and capability are two important hallmarks of remarkable leadership. Amidst a competitive hotel industry, Arthur Kiong has not only initiated transformative changes to Far East Hospitality (FEH)’s operations but also steered the group’s expansion in recent years, taking it to greater heights.

Between 2019 and 2022, it is with Arthur’s business acumen that FEH expanded into new business segments with concept hotels like The Clan Hotel and new streams through the launch of Oasia Resort Sentosa and Oasia Spa, a resort and spa category, in Sentosa alongside Village, The Outpost Hotel, and The Barracks Hotel, which made FEH the biggest hospitality operator there. On top of that, the establishment of a presence in new markets such as Japan.

When the pandemic struck in 2020, Arthur demonstrated his leadership skills by adopting extensive measures that enabled the group to embark on expansion and rebranding. He put in place a dual-pronged strategy by handling the pandemic exigencies steadfastly whilst also embarking on an accelerated brand transformation journey.

Arthur was also quick to commit a substantial number of FEH hotels to the government to be used as quarantine facilities. This commitment was something he felt strongly for as it would help free up hospital beds and not put stress on Singapore’s healthcare system.

Internally, FEH’s workforce did not suffer any salary cuts and continued to receive annual salary increments, promotions, upskilling, and job redesign opportunities.

Under his guidance, the FEH team undertook a slew of initiatives to reposition the group from a local mid-tier hotel operator to a world-class operator managing lifestyle brands.

These initiatives included creating new brand experiences, expanding into new business segments and geographic markets, refurbishing, and rebranding its more dated properties, redesigning jobs to attract and develop talent, and driving productivity and sustainability through technological innovation.

All these initiatives support Arthur’s vision to build a Singapore-inspired homegrown hospitality group that offers world-class standards.

For these milestones, Arthur received the Executive of the Year - Hospitality & Leisure award in the recently concluded Singapore Business Review Management Excellence Awards.

The awards programme recognises the most outstanding leaders in Singapore for their hard work and dedication that brought tangible contributions to their businesses. It also honours employee engagements and COVID management initiatives that have made a positive impact on its workforce or customers.

In granting the award, the judging panel considered three significant achievements.

Firstly, it took notice of Arthur’s brilliant vision of turning adversity into an opportunity through its pivot to quality tourism.

Secondly, the panel recognised Arthur’s support for FEH’s workforce through upskilling opportunities for them to adapt to modern times and to provide them with digital tools necessary to improve work processes and efficiency.

Lastly, it took note of how Arthur spearheaded FEH’s brand transformation process by offering diverse, curated brands to travellers, with some of its hotels winning accolades from TripAdvisor.

Arthur’s visionary leadership also extends outside the group. He has always supported initiatives to improve the hospitality sector in Singapore. He is currently the Vice President of the Singapore Hotel Association and a part of its Executive Committee.

The SBR Management Excellence Awards is presented by Singapore Business Review Magazine. To view the full list of winners, click here. If you want to join the 2023 awards programme and be acclaimed for your company's employee engagements and management initiatives, please contact Julie Anne Nuñez at [email protected].

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