Paramount appoints OCBC Bank’s Jeffrey Chew as group CEO

KUALA LUMPUR: Property and education group Paramount Corp Bhd announced three key appointments yesterday, including that of senior banker Jeffrey Chew as its new group chief executive officer (CEO) effective July 1.

The move confirms a report in The Edge weekly two weeks ago that Chew,  director and CEO of OCBC Bank (M) Bhd, left the bank after 11 years to take on the top post at Paramount. He fills a spot that has been vacant for over a year.

Paramount also appointed Beh Chun Chong as the deputy divisional CEO of its property subsidiary Paramount Property Development; and Susan Ooi as the CEO of KDU College Petaling Jaya as well as chief marketing officer of the college and of KDU University College.

The new appointments are meant to strengthen the group as it moves into a new phase of growth, Paramount  executive deputy chairman Datuk Teo Chiang Quan said.

“Chew’s experience in driving corporate growth and his talent for combining innovation with human capital development make him the ideal candidate to lead Paramount at this time. We are confident that both our property and education businesses will benefit significantly from his insightful analysis of how the markets in these two categories are developing.

“The appointments of Beh and Ooi, both experienced professionals, will complement our current bench strength,” Teo said in a statement yesterday.

Teo has been the interim CEO of the group after the previous CEO, Chan Say Yeong, resigned in mid-April last year.

Chew, who has led OCBC Bank for six years, is a corporate entrepreneur with 28 years of experience in the finance and accounting industries.

“Having enjoyed my time in various different areas of the domestic banking and finance industry, I was looking for new challenges, particularly in the fields of property and education — two areas which I feel can contribute significantly to nation building, and in which I have a keen interest. Paramount’s challenge moving forward — to realise and maximise the synergies between the two businesses, was something that I found very attractive,” Chew said in the statement.

Beh was previously the chief operating officer of Ireka Development Management Sdn Bhd. He is expected to work closely with Paramount Property’s CEO Datuk Ricque Liew to help make the company a fully-integrated developer. Its current projects are concentrated in the Klang Valley, Sungai Petani and Penang.

Ooi was previously the senior vice-president of enrolment at Taylor’s Higher Education Group. Ooi and Beh, whose appointments are effective June 2, have at least 20 years of experience each in their respective industries.

Paramount derives about 70% of its revenue from the property business.

This article first appeared in The Edge Financial Daily, on May 29, 2014.

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