NEWS: Mr. Ko Kheng Hwa Retires as Chairman of PacNet
February 17, 2004
SINGAPORE, Feb 17, 2004 /PRNewswire-FirstCall via COMTEX/ --
Asia's largest telco- independent Internet Communications Service Provider by geographic reach, Pacific Internet or PacNet (Nasdaq: PCNTF) announced today that Mr. Ko Kheng Hwa is retiring as Director and Chairman of the Board on 18 February 2004. Ms. Low Sin Leng, current Deputy Chairman of the Board, will succeed Mr. Ko as Chairman of the Board.
Mr. Ko has been a Director of the Board since 1 July 1997. He was part of the Board that guided PacNet through its successful listing on NASDAQ in 1999 and its major expansion into the overseas markets. PacNet was the first Asian Internet Service Provider to be listed on NASDAQ.
Mr. Ko has also served as Chairman of the Board's Audit Committee, Executive Committee and Administration and Compensation Committee.
Mr. Ko was appointed Chairman of the Board on 8 February 2000. Shortly after his appointment, PacNet like many similar companies was severely hit by the global dotcom crash and the industry downturn that began in April 2000. As Chairman, Mr. Ko led the company in its major restructuring efforts and its return to profitability in the first quarter of 2002.
Today, PacNet is in an excellent business position. It recently reported its eighth consecutive profitable quarter, with the fourth quarter 2003 net income surging nearly four times to S$3.2m (US$1.9m), compared to a year ago. Net income for full year 2003 jumped 67 per cent to S$4.8m (US$2.8m) compared to 2002. The company's balance sheet is strong with cash and cash equivalents at S$42m (US$25m) and little debt. It has about 450,000 corporate and consumer subscribers across its seven-country presence in Asia Pacific.
Reflecting on his tenure, Mr. Ko said 'The past seven years have been full of opportunities and challenges for PacNet. The company has emerged from the dotcom crash stronger and fitter - and is now riding the new growth curve in Asia; it is in great shape today. This has been my key objective. It has also been my biggest satisfaction at PacNet. I am most thankful to fellow board members, management, shareholders and customers for their tremendous support through thick and thin over the years. I am confident that Ms. Low and the Board will lead the company to new heights.'
Ms. Low said, ''The Board of Directors and management of PacNet would like to express our deep gratitude to Mr. Ko for his outstanding leadership, tremendous contributions and dedicated service to PacNet during the past seven years. His leadership was critical during the aftermath of the dotcom crash. He stayed focus and rallied the Board and the management, leading the company through a boldly executed return-to-profitability and growth path. The company turned around in the first quarter of 2002 and has been profitable since. I look forward to continuing the excellent work that Mr. Ko has done for the company.''
Ms. Low Sin Leng will succeed Mr. Ko on 18 February 2004. She has been on the PacNet Board since 2000 and was appointed Deputy Chairman in 2002. Ms. Low is currently the Group Chief Operating Officer of SembCorp Industries, one of Asia's largest engineering services group. Her previous appointments included Executive Vice President of leading utility company Singapore Power, and also headed its telecom subsidiary SP Telecommunications as its Managing Director. Ms Low has held senior positions in various Singapore Government bodies including the Ministries of Finance, Education and Trade &Industry.
Mr. Tan Tong Hai, President and CEO of PacNet said, 'I have worked with Mr. Ko at PacNet for over three years, and during this period he has been tireless in his efforts to guide the company and the Board. I greatly appreciate his vision and insights on the needs of our business and his critical role in leading changes that will ensure the continued growth of PacNet in the years to come. It has been a privilege to work with him.'
Mr. Tan added, ''While Mr. Ko will be missed, I look forward to working closely with Ms. Low. We have always appreciated her vision and business acumen and look forward to her leadership as Chairman of the Board.''