Allan Yeo, who recently joined KPMG’s Healthcare practice as principal advisor, talks about his illustrious 25-year career in project management
Allan Yeo, who recently joined KPMG’s Healthcare practice as principal advisor
Allan Yeo, who recently joined KPMG’s Healthcare practice as principal advisor, talks about his illustrious 25-year career in project management and hospital management, and how he thinks KPMG will continue to lead in the sector.
By Jeanne Lim
What would someone with a background in building construction know about running hospitals? Plenty, it seems, especially when we’re talking about Allan Yeo, the new principal advisor with KPMG’s healthcare sector practice in Advisory.
Healthcare is one of KPMG’s global priority sectors. Allan joined KPMG in April after having spent 25 years in the healthcare and project management industry and being involved in project management, hospital management and restructuring of hospitals in Singapore, Malaysia and Vietnam.
His first job after graduating with a Bachelor of Science degree in Building from Heriot-Watt University in Edinburgh, UK and Master of Science in Project Management with NUS was with New Zealand company Fletcher Construction, which was contracted to build the National University Hospital (NUH). There, he functioned as the architectural co-ordinator as well as project manager. That project was probably what sparked off his destiny in the path of healthcare although it would be another two years or so before Allan joined the industry.
He said: “After that project, I was asked by NUH to join them.” But he chose to stay on with Fletcher to work on building projects in New Zealand for over a year. After his New Zealand stint, Allan was assigned by Fletcher to come back to Singapore to help build the Radio & Microwave Tower at Dover Road for Singapore Telecom, now known as SingTel. Midway through that project, NUH approached him again to join, this time as its director of operational support. “They gave me an offer I couldn’t refuse,” he said matter-of-factly.
The move to NUH was the pivotal point in his career, where he made the shift from building project management to hospital management. NUH was undergoing physical and expansion development at that time, which required project management skills, he explained. After a couple of years, Allan was promoted to director of operations at NUH. Allan was in this role for close to four years before being asked by then Chairman of EDB Philip Yeo to take on the chief executive officer role in the Singapore-India flagship project, the Bangalore Information Technology Park in India.
After two years in India and having left the healthcare sector briefly, he came back to Singapore and was asked to help turn around a private general hospital in Balestier Road owned by Health Management International. As its group CEO, Allan led in the corporate restructuring, turning around and eventual listing of the hospital in 1999. After listing, he led in the negotiation and acquisition of Mahkota Medical Centre, a 288-bed tertiary care hospital in Malacca, Malaysia from the Lion Group. “I was appointed the managing director, and was asked to restructure and turn around the hospital, which I did in a couple of years,” he said.
His knack for restructuring and turning around hospitals didn’t go unnoticed. In 2002, he was asked to join Thomson Medical Centre, a private hospital which specialises in the management of women and children’s health, as group CEO. He spearheaded the corporate restructuring and turnaround of the hospital and listed it on the Singapore Exchange in 2005. As CEO, Allan was responsible for introducing the ‘resort style’ concept focusing on service quality, innovation and branding to the hospital. As a result, Thomson Medical won many service quality and brand awards, including the Spring Singapore Excellent Service Award and the ‘Best Under a Billion’ Award by Forbes Asia 2009. It was also the overall winner of the Singapore Heritage Brand Award.
Allan’s achievements were recognised by the industry, when in 2009, he was named Outstanding Entrepreneur in the Asia Pacific Entrepreneurship Awards. While at Thomson Medical, Allan also secured a greenfield hospital consultancy consultancy and management contract in Vietnam in 2006. He served as its project director as well as its managing director and sat on the board of the 250-bed Hanh Phuc International Women & Children Hospital in Binh Duong Province, and saw its completion in 2009.
He left Thomson Medical in 2012, after Singaporean tycoon and investor Peter Lim bought over the hospital, delisted and privatised it. Prior to joining KPMG, Allan was the group managing director of Econ Healthcare Group, which is one of the largest nursing home and senior care providers in Singapore, with established nursing homes in Johor. Clearly, with his illustrious career and experience in hospital management, Allan is seen as a valuable addition to the pool of healthcare advisors that KPMG Singapore currently has.
He sees joining KPMG as an advisor after so many years in hospital management as a new challenge, and is confident of the expertise he brings to the table, which includes all areas of healthcare consultancy, such as mergers & acquisitions, corporate restructuring, and business process improvements. There is huge demand for hospital management services, particularly in countries like China, Malaysia, Indonesia and Vietnam, which are aggressively building new hospitals and looking at restructuring existing hospitals to make them more efficient, he said.
Hence, there is huge potential for KPMG to penetrate these markets. “I have many acquaintances within the healthcare industry, and having run hospitals, am familiar with how the system works. KPMG has an excellent pool of professionals with diverse backgrounds and together with my healthcare colleagues, we hope to do our part and build up KPMG’s competencies to provide more comprehensive services to bring value to our clients,” he said.
Allan also sits as a Member of the board of Governor with the Singapore Polytechnic and is also a Member of the Advisory Board of MDIS School of Health and Life Science.