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SMRT’s chief spokesperson resigns after years in the forefront of train breakdowns and safety lapses

Coconuts logo Coconuts 19/1/2018

Patrick Nathan, the man who had the unenviable job of responding to queries about the repeated breakdowns, safety breaches and other troubles faced by SMRT, has resigned after around seven years working under the rail operator.

The company’s vice-president of corporate communications and chief spokesman is reportedly serving out his notice, according to The Straits Times, but has yet to confirm when exactly he’ll be leaving for good. In fact, the man even referred to the reports of his resignation as “rumors”, but did not outrightly refute them.

News of his forthcoming departure comes amidst a flurry of management changes at the embattled transport operator, with Nathan at the forefront of SMRT’s engagement with the press. The man had to calmly represent the company during times of crisis that included the likes of the Bishan tunnel flooding, the Joo Koon train collision, the safety lapse that lead to the deaths of two young SMRT employees, and more — on top of the repeated major train service breakdowns.

So all in all, not a thankful role to be in.

It might be a job that he didn’t even sign up for in the first place, really. ST reported that the former national security specialist joined SMRT in 2011 to head its security and emergency planning department after that infamous case of trespass and vandalism at Bishan depot.

In 2013, public relations veteran Kalai Natarajan dropped out from her post as SMRT’s chief spokesperson, just five months into the job. Nathan was picked to replace her.

Patrick Nathan (centre). Photo: YouTube screengrab © Provided by Coconuts Media Limited patrick nathan

Pundits actually expect more shakeups in the near future to appease the public, whose calls for a revamp within SMRT have been louder than ever before — even beleaguered SMRT CEO is expected to step down as well.

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