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Ex-SMRT spokesman Patrick Nathan takes on crisis comms role at Hong Bao Media

The former spin doctor for Singapore’s troubled railway network has been snapped up by Hong Bao Media to provide crisis communication workshops.

Nathan with Hong Bao Media’s Mark Laudi

Patrick Nathan served as SMRT’s vice-president of corporate communications for nearly five years before dramatically quitting the network in January after it faced a slew of bad press related to its breakdowns, serious safety breaches and work culture.

In his new role, Nathan will deliver a series of workshops on an “exclusive partnership” basis to Hong Bao Media’s clientele of largely oil, chemical and cyber multi-nationals.

Comapny founder Mark Laudi said: “Clearly Patrick possesses an incredible amount of experience. SMRT has gone through a difficult time. The way he handled the issues and was a public face was much commended, especially how he was on social media.

“For a comms person, Patrick was a star: when you talk to other communications professionals, they look to him as an authority.”

Before taking on the role as the railway’s spokesman, Nathan previously worked as SMRT’s director of security.

His departure came following a painful year for SMRT as Singapore’s national railway network was hit by a string of high-profile incidents, including a tunnel flooding at Bishan and a train collision at Joo Koon.

The service was also criticised by commuters for failing to communicate information about the incidents and multiple train breakdowns. In another instance, SMRT was also mocked for “sugarcoating” the Joo Koon crash in account of the event on Facebook.

Hong Bao Media was unavailable to provide a cost breakdown of Nathan’s workshops, although Laudi said it was “less than hundreds of thousands of dollars”.

He added: “It’s a small fee to pay to protect your reputation.”

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