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Board of Directors

Mr Chou Cheng Ngok
Group CEO, Executive Director

Mr Chou Cheng Ngok is passionate about books, a passion which he picked up from his late father, Mr Chou Sing Chu, the founder of POPULAR. Since his graduation in 1964 from the US with a Masters Degree in Political Science, he has been living in Hong Kong and working with POPULAR. With foresight in recognising the potential in books and stationery, Mr Chou embarked on an aggressive plan to grow and develop the business when he took over the reins of management in the early 1980s. He has been instrumental in strategising the development of POPULAR into an established brand and an integrated group which today has operations in Singapore, Malaysia, Greater China, Canada and United Kingdom.

Ms Lim Lee Ngoh
CEO, Malaysia & Singapore

Ms Lim Lee Ngoh is the CEO responsible for operations in Malaysia and Singapore. She joined Popular Book Co (Malaysia) Sdn Bhd in 1986 as its Accountant. Over her 27 years with Popular Book Co (Malaysia) Sdn Bhd, Ms Lim held various positions, including Retail Manager, General Manager, Executive Director of Popular Book Co (Malaysia) Sdn Bhd, and finally CEO of Malaysia & Singapore. Ms Lim holds a Bachelor of Commerce (Accounting, Finance and Business) Degree from the University of New South Wales, Australia.

Mr Poon Chi Wai, Ponch
CEO, Greater China

Mr Ponch Poon joined the POPULAR Group in October 2009 as the CEO of Greater China. Mr Poon is a qualified accountant who graduated with double majors in Commerce and Computer Science from the Simon Fraser University in Canada. Mr Poon has 25 years of experience in financial management and general management, and held various positions in multinational and listed companies in Canada, Hong Kong and The People's Republic of China (PRC). He was stationed in PRC since 1996 for more than four years as the regional Finance Director with Pfizer. Upon return from PRC to Hong Kong in 2001, Mr Poon has worked with Pearson Education for eight years in the positions of CFO of the Asia Region, and the Managing Director for Hong Kong and China.

Mr Vangatharaman Ramayah
Non-Executive Chairman, Independent Director

Mr Vangat Ramayah was appointed as a Non-Executive Director of POPULAR in May 2002. He is the Chairman of both the Audit and Remuneration Committees. Mr Ramayah is currently a Consultant in the firm M/s Wee Ramayah & Partners. Graduating with LLB (Hons) and LLM Degree from the University of London and a MA Degree in Business Law, his legal experience over two decades encompasses Banking, Commercial Law, Shipyard and Marine Construction Finance, Cross Border Construction Projects, Insurance, Transnational Joint Ventures, Admiralty Law, Aviation Law and Arbitration. He is the author of the treatise 'Ship Finance in Singapore & Malaysia'.

Mr Ramayah is often sought as an arbitrator in Asian and Common Law jurisdictions on construction, commercial, transnational, and maritime disputes and acts as an arbitrator in ICC arbitrations as well. He is familiar with English, Malaysian and Singapore Law and is exposed to US Law and Indonesian Law. He is a member of the Law Reform Committee of the Singapore Academy of Law and is a Fellow of the Singapore Institute of Arbitrators. He sits on the panel of various arbitral institutions, namely: Beijing Arbitration Commission, Korean Commercial Arbitration Board, Kuala Lumpur Regional Centre for Arbitration, Singapore International Arbitration Centre, Singapore Chamber of Maritime Arbitrators, Singapore Institute of Arbitration and the Asia-Pacific Regional Arbitration Grouping.

Mrs Lim Soon Tze
Independent Director

Mrs Lim Soon Tze is an Independent Director of POPULAR. She is the Chairman of the Nominating Committee and a member of the Remuneration Committee. An Economics and English (Hons) graduate, she started her career in education as a teacher in Raffles Girls' Secondary School in Singapore, and went on to become Head of Department and Vice-Principal in National Junior College, and Principal of Anderson Secondary School before her posting to the Ministry of Education Headquarters.

In the Ministry of Education, Mrs Lim's appointments included Senior Inspector of Schools, Deputy Director of Primary and Secondary Schools, Director of Curriculum Planning Division which she set up, Director of Curriculum Development Institute of Singapore (CDIS), Director of Educational Technology, and Director of Schools. She played a major role in drawing up the Ministry of Education's first Masterplan for IT in Education and set up the Educational Technology Division to implement the Masterplan in schools. During her period as Director of Schools from 1997 until her retirement from the Education Service in April 2002, she implemented the School Cluster structure as an innovative way of improving school management. She also introduced a computerised self-appraisal system (the School Excellence Model) to appraise the effectiveness of schools.

Mrs Lim has sat on various bodies such as the National Institute of Education Council, the National Computer Board, National Library Board and was Chairman of the Governing Board of SEAMEO Regional Language Centre. For her contribution to education, she has received several National Day Awards, culminating in the Public Administration Medal (Gold) in 2001.

Mr David Chia Tian Bin
Independent Director

Mr David Chia Tian Bin was appointed as an Independent Director of Popular Holdings Limited on 25 August 2012. He is currently a director of AXIA Equity Pte. Ltd., a firm which provides business and corporate advisory services to companies in Singapore and the region. Prior to this and since 1990, he was actively involved in the private equity and venture capital industry in Asia as a director of an investment advisory firm engaged in direct investments in companies around the region. From 1980 to 1990, Mr. Chia was engaged in providing audit and financial consulting services in Singapore and Hong Kong with an international firm of accountants. Mr. Chia is also an independent director on the boards of BH Global Marine Limited and Jasper Investments Limited. Mr. Chia holds a Bachelor of Accountancy (Honours) from the National University of Singapore and is a Fellow of the Institute of Certified Public Accountants of Singapore and a member of the Singapore Institute of Directors.

Mr Desmond Wee Guan Oei
Independent Director

Mr Desmond Wee is an Independent Director of POPULAR and was appointed to the Board on 25 August 2012. He is also a member of the Audit Committee, Nominating Committee and Remuneration Committee. He graduated with a Bachelor of Laws (Honours) from the University of Nottingham in 1994 and is admitted as an Advocate and Solicitor of the Supreme Court of Singapore and as a Barrister-at-law, Middle Temple in the United Kingdom. Mr. Wee is currently a Partner in the Corporate Commercial practice of Rajah & Tann LLP specialising in mergers and acquisitions, general corporate law and labour law. Mr Wee also has a particular focus in foreign direct investments into the emerging Asian economies, particularly in Indo-China. Mr Wee also has prior experience as a commercial litigator as well as being the group regional legal counsel of a Hong Kong public listed company.