In a dramatic development reported by todayonline.com, it is learnt that Mr Manu Sawhney, the chief executive officer of Sports Hub Pte Ltd (SHPL), the consortium that runs the Singapore Sports Hub, is on extended personal leave following an anonymous letter of complaint against him that was sent to InfraRed Capital Partners, one of four equity partners in SHPL.
The complaint is being investigated by the consortium, and a Board meeting is expected to be held next week to discuss the issue. Mr Sawhney declined comment when contacted on Friday (May 19).
Sources with knowledge of the matter have told TODAY that the complaint contains allegations of his treatment of staff. Former employees who spoke to TODAY described Mr Sawhney as a demanding, vocal and occasionally volatile manager. Several also said they witnessed him having heated discussions with their colleagues.
Responding to queries from TODAY, a SHPL spokesperson said: “Manu Sawhney, Chief Executive Officer of the Singapore Sports Hub is on leave and Oon Jin Teik, the Singapore Sports Hub’s Chief Operating Officer is covering the duties and responsibilities of the CEO in his absence.”
“Business continues as usual at the Singapore Sports Hub; we are focused on pursuing operational excellence, developing a vibrant repertoire of events, and delivering great experiences for our clients, colleagues, partners and patrons.”
In response to TODAY’s queries on whether Mr Sawhney is on leave at the SHPL Board’s request, whether there was a letter of complaint against him for abuse of staff, and whether SHPL is investigating the matter, the spokesperson said: “The Singapore Sports Hub keeps matters relating to its staff confidential and does not comment on speculation.”
Previously the managing director of ESPN Star Sports, Mr Sawhney joined SHPL as its CEO in October 2015. The 50-year-old replaced Frenchman Philippe Collin-Delavaud, who joined the consortium in March 2011.
Since Mr Sawhney’s appointment in October 2015, the SHPL’s senior management and staff teams have seen a string of resignations. The most notable departures came in December 2015, when two senior management members from equity partner Global Spectrum Pico – managing director Mr Mark Collins and Ms Daphne Letourmel, director of contracts and compliance – left SHPL.
Their moves were said to be sparked by disagreements over the directions taken in discussions with event organisers and partners in staging events at the Kallang facility.
The consortium said then that the duo were “stepping aside” from their roles.
Two months later, legal director Maud Brotons and head of human resources Tan Ai Sim also parted ways with SHPL.
Other senior staff who have left the Sports Hub include Mr Jason Hrick, who was appointed acting managing director after Collins’ departure, Mr Jose Raymond, who was the Sports Hub’s senior director for corporate communications and stakeholder management, and Mr Eugene Lee, its marketing and communications director.