Sports Hub CEO Lionel Yeo to step down when Government takes over

Mr Yeo acknowledged that there were “teething issues” in the early years of the Sports Hub’s operations, but said that these have mostly been resolved.

There were complaints about the stadium’s turf and facilities when it first began operating; and when it hosted the National Day Parade for the first and only time in 2016, it was dogged by bad press about the high cost.

There were also complaints that crowd favourites like the Red Lions parachutists could not be included due to the roof over the National Stadium.

These challenges came with multiple changes in leadership from 2016 on.

Mr Yeo is the fourth CEO of the facility, following Mr Philippe Collin-Delavaud, Mr Manu Sawhney and Mr Oon Jin Teik. Chairman Bryn Jones stood in as acting CEO for the period before Mr Yeo came on board. 

Responding to questions on earlier reports that the project had too many stakeholders with misaligned objectives, Mr Yeo said that it was a strength to have a diversity of partners and expertise, but the challenge was how to bring everyone together behind one strategic vision.

He said that in the early years, there was “some tension”, but as the project matured, the people involved also understood how to “work across partners” better.

“By the time I joined in early 2020, yes, there were different parties involved, and everybody has their own micro-agenda. But what they needed was for someone to say: Here’s the macro-agenda … Are you able to support it?” he said.

“It’s about getting people into the room and having an honest conversation about what we want to achieve together.”

Giving examples of how the partnership evolved, he said that they were able to step up and respond to a national need, and provide temporary housing for migrant workers in the thick of the pandemic in 2020.