The CEO of Pokka International, Alain Ong, has been suspended from his duties pending an internal audit, according to Shin Min Daily News (SMDN) in a Sept. 26 report.
According to the Chinese paper, there has been a massive shake up of the beverage company’s higher management a few days ago. Aside from Ong, several other management-level positions from other departments have also been replaced.
Ong’s duties have been handed over to Rieko Shofu, Group CEO of Pokka Corporation (Singapore) Pte Ltd. The latter is concurrently the acting CEO of Pokka International.
In response to SMDN’s queries, a Pokka spokesperson only said that the higher management positions from both Pokka International and Pokka Corporation were being replaced during the internal audit period so as to prevent disruptions to the company operations. The spokesperson also declined to comment on the audit matters as it is ongoing.
However, Pokka confirmed with SMDN that Ong is still an employee of the company even though his work has been taken over by Rieko.
A quick check on Pokka Singapore’s website showed only Rieko on the board of directors:
SMDN further said that a reader supplied the paper with a letter from Pokka addressed to its business partners and supermarkets.
The letter, which was sent on September 19, stated that Rieko was taking over Ong’s duties and that the latter was no longer authorised to represent Pokka Corporation (Singapore) and Pokka International .
According to SMDN’s investigations, up to eight employees have been suspended and ordered to stay away from company premises during the audit period.
It is unclear who these eight are.
The paper also said that personnel from Pokka’s Japan headquarters arrived in Singapore to commence their audit two weeks ago. A few days later, eight employees were asked to leave the company. The paper’s source also divulged that these eight employees were strictly forbidden from entering the company’s premises without the expressed permission from the upper management.
SMDN added that none of the suspended personnel are Japanese management.
Pokka did not comment on the alleged suspension of the personnel, citing company policy. The company stressed that no investigative organisation is conducting any investigation into the company or its employees.
Ong’s wife, Mediacorp artiste Vivian Lai, has been Pokka’s ambassador for more than a decade. According to SMDN, Lai reportedly received S$1 million for her endorsement in 2012 – a sum that supposedly exceeded the going rate for veteran Mediacorp artistes.
Lai who is currently 41 years old hosts a slew of popular variety shows on Channel 8. Notably, she’s a co-host of What’s In The Fridge? (冰箱的秘密) which counts Pokka as one of its sponsors.
Her co-host for the show Pornsak is the spokesperson for the Asian Story packaged drinks brand which is also owned by Pokka.
In response to SMDN’s queries about Pokka’s future marketing strategy and possible change in endorsement personality, the Pokka spokesperson said that the company is focusing on maintaining company operations during this period and has not made any decisions on future marketing strategies.
Both Ong and Lai refused to respond to SMDN’s visits and calls.
Hmm... from consultant straight to CEO. seems like this Rieko Shofu was appointed by parent company (Sapporo Holdings) to perform massive spring cleaning?
Looks like this Alain Ong has a rather stinking reputation.
Wow that's a damn serious allegation by Granny Chew, she had better make sure she has rock solid evidence to back things up. Where did you find this FB remark anyways?
In the comments section of the Mothership webpage
41 year old lao aunty with expired CB.......how can she even be worth 1 million bucks?????
Should use this SYT as new Pokka gal ASAP!!!!!!
AMEN TO HE YING YING-GREAT CHOICE!
I believe Yui Hatano will do it for half a million. She swallows whatever Pokka has to offer. ;)
Can't believe she is paid a million bucks for making retarded ads like this.
Vivian lai can be spokesperson for Yellow Ribbon soon?
Anyway can sleep well tonight!!!!!
Vivian 姐姐 says there are no dead ends in life, what a cryptic response.
Perhaps its time to divorce his ass and makan half of his assets by invoking the Women's Charter?
I think I can decipher Vivian's coded message.
She will still live in a detached house, but in JB perhaps.
One thing remains unchanged though, and that is her love for.....
More from XinMin!
Alain Ong, Pokka’s CEO, has been thrust into the media spotlight following news that he had been suspended pending an internal audit by Pokka.
So in case you don’t really know the man, here are 5 things you need to know about the 43-year old former Pokka CEO.
1. He’s been married to Vivian Lai for 17 years
The couple got hitched in 2001, and have two kids.
His proposal was also quite a Singaporean proposal.
According to Toggle, Ong had proposed to Lai while viewing apartments with her.
Lai told Toggle that he proposed while they were waiting at the lift lobby at one of the showrooms, where in response to Lai’s plan to invest in a piece of property, he brought up the idea of applying for a house to get married.
2. His house is very nice
Earlier this year, Lai did an interview with Zaobao, letting them in for a tour of her family’s new S$8 million “dream house”.
Here’s the video.
Here’s their three story house where Lai, Ong, their two children, and two domestic helpers reside.
The 3,500 square feet house is located in Central Singapore, and set them back a cool S$8 million.
Lai had mentioned to Zaobao, the basement is fitted with a sound-proof Karaoke room where their family can go to de-stress.
Prior to that, according to an interview with Edgeprop, Ong and his family lived in a 6,000 square feet house located in Thomson.
3. He was in charge of way more than the Singapore market
Being Singaporean, and working in the Singapore branch of Pokka, one might be forgiven for thinking that he is just in charge of operations in Singapore.
According to a Straits Times piece in May 8, 2017, Ong was in charge of the international arm of Pokka.
Which, at that time, consisted of marketing to more than 60 countries.
According to a 2017 report by Sapporo Holdings, the parent company of Pokka, Pokka Singapore had group net sales of S$256 million in 2016.
4. He’s responsible for many Pokka vending machines
If you’ve noticed more Pokka vending machines in Singapore over the years, you might have Ong to thank for it
One of the impacts Ong had during his tenure as CEO in Pokka was his emphasis on vending machines.
Specifically, his decision to set up a vending machine division in Singapore.
In the same ST article, Ong talked about the difficulties of pushing through new ideas in the face of a rather conservative board.
The vending machine division was established despite that idea being frowned upon by management before.
Pokka also launched the first cashless vending machine in 2012, at Zhenghua Community Centre, quickly followed by 19 other community centres.
5. He’s a family man
In a 2017 interview with Edgeprop, Ong revealed that family was a priority for him.
He made it a point to eat with his family as often as possible, and catches up on the daily activities of his children.
The parents’ rather busy schedule means that family holidays are quite a premium though.
Lai reveals in an interview with 8 days magazine that they only get to travel as a family once a year.
Here’s Lai’s quote to 8 days:
“Once a year, we go on a family trip to Europe. I pay $30,000 for my family of four to travel Biz Class. Some people may think it’s not necessary to spend so much on plane tickets. But for me, it’s only once a year. We’ve worked hard for one whole year.”
LOL Sinkies really love to kaypoh about this type of saga
According to Lianhe Wanbao (LHWB), sources familiar with the company told the paper that Ong had already made preparations to move over to Kimly Limited.
Kimly Limited is one of the largest coffee shop operators in Singapore alongside Kopitiam Group, Chang Cheng Group and Kim San Leng.
It manages 60 coffee shops, four industrial canteens, and four food courts.
Kimly Limited is the first coffee shop operator to be listed on the Singapore Exchange (SGX), in March 2017.
According to LHWB, Ong (who also goes by Ong Eng Sing) joined Kimly Limited as a Non-Executive and Non-Independent director in February 2017. He was also on Kimly’s Audit Committee and Renumeration Committee.
Kimly announced that Ong retired from its Board of Directors in January 2018 due to “other principal commitments”.
The announcement also stated that Ong has 5,140,000 ordinary shares (direct interest) in Kimly.
In July 2018, Kimly Ltd announced that it acquired Asian Story Corporation for $16 million, adding that the acquisition would allow it to sell the Asian Story beverages at all of the drinks stalls operated by them.
Asian Story Corporation (ASC) manufactures drinks like soya bean, winter melon tea, bandung and herbal tea under its Asian Story brand (said to be the number 3 brand in the domestic Asian drinks market), as well as Simply Water (mineral water). It is distributed by Pokka Corp in Singapore, Malaysia, and Brunei.
Both Pokka and Asian Story sponsor Chinese variety shows such as What’s In The Fridge? (冰箱的秘密) which is hosted by Lai.
Lai is also a long-time ambassador for Pokka while her co-host, Pornsak, has an endorsement deal with Asian Story.
SINGAPORE - Mediacorp has refuted widespread speculation about local actress Vivian Lai's million-dollar endorsement fee for Japanese beverage firm Pokka.
Lai, 41, was thrown in the spotlight last week after her husband Alain Ong was suspended as chief executive officer at Pokka International following an internal audit.
Chinese-language newspaper Shin Min Daily News, which broke the news of the management shake-up on Sept 26, had reported that Lai has been endorsing the brand for at least a decade.
In 2012, Shin Min reported that Lai had signed a $1 million contract to be Pokka's brand ambassador, and that the fee had surpassed what other industry veterans would typically receive.
Lai previously explained in an interview that when she took up the endorsement a decade ago, her husband was only a small executive in the company and was not a key decision-maker.
She said that Pokka had been looking for an ambassador then and learnt that an employee's wife was an artist.
She added that they had contacted her likely because they were hoping for a "good deal" and she agreed as the fee was reasonable.
Mediacorp had said in a statement on Sept 27 that Lai's contract with Pokka remains unchanged, despite the changes involving her husband.
Last Saturday, however, a Mediacorp spokesman told Chinese-language broadsheet Lianhe Zaobao that rumours of Lai's million-dollar ambassadorship was speculation.
The spokesman said that Mediacorp had not refuted what was reported in 2012 as it does not typically respond to any speculation.
More at https://www.straitstimes.com/lifestyle/entertainment/mediacorp-refutes-actress-vivian-lais-1-million-endorsement-fee-for-pokka
I'll console her in my bed tonight.
Oh please stop it you pervert........
Anyways pity Vivian Lai for being so greedy, looks like now she is really 什么都没了. Sigh.
What makes you so sure she lost everything? She ain't even taken to court and Pokka didn't pursue any claims against her MILFY ass thus far
Her Instagram account hasn't been updated since 24 September hmm
Latest from Shin Min News.