Ascendas gets new head from parent company

Manohar Khiatani has assumed his new role as group president and chief executive of Singapore-based Ascendas, stepping down from his current role as chief executive of Ascendas’ parent.


Singapore-based real estate firm Ascendas has hired a new group president and chief executive after its long-time president and chief executive Siak Ching Chong stepped down to become the chief executive of Singapore’s National Art Gallery.

Manohar Khiatani, who most recently was the chief executive officer of Ascendas’ parent company JTC Corporation, assumed his role at Ascendas last week, according to a firm statement. Khiatani has stepped down from his role at JTC, which works in the planning and development of Singapore’s industrial infrastructure and facilities.

“[Khiatani’s] experience in industry development and industrial infrastructure is very relevant for Ascendas,” the firm’s board said in the statement. “We are confident that with his background and experience in leading roles across government agencies and multinational corporations, he will be able to lead Ascendas in the next stage of its development.”

Khiatani declined to be interviewed, but he said in the statement that he “looks forward to continue building on the good work already done and working closely with the entire team to bring Ascendas to the next level of growth.”

Chong was president and chief executive of Ascendas since its formation in 2001, during which time she helped the firm build a presence in 10 countries across the Asia-Pacific region. “It is never easy to leave a company that one has been part of for more than 12 years and even longer… but I was comforted that I was leaving Ascendas in the hands of a strong leadership team who has good support from the staff,” Chong told PERE over email.

At the National Art Gallery, Chong primarily will be providing strategic leadership to the gallery as it prepares for its 2015 opening, focusing mostly on its “organizational vision,” according to a Singapore Ministry of Culture, Community and Youth statement.

With S$12.9 billion (€7.9 billion; $10.5 billion) in assets under management, Ascendas specializes in industrial real estate, particularly IT, science and high-tech parks, and has investments in 33 Asian cities. In November 2002, the firm launched Singapore’s first business space trust with Ascendas Real Estate Investment Trust and, most recently, it listed a portfolio of 10 hotels across China, Japan and Australia with its Ascendas Hospitality Trust.