In an email interview, former Aretae CEO Lee Chong Min confirmed talk that he had left the company.
"Given the company's current stage of development, Aretae (had) probably assembled a highly experienced, professional and competent management team somewhat too early. The company and several members of its professional management team have thus recently and amicably decided to part ways," he said.
Last week, a source said that Aretae had fired some members of its top management team--including Lee, Aretae co-founder and general manager of Aretae Hong Kong David Leong, chief financial officer Denis Koh, vice president of human resources Cindy Ma and director of business development Chua Soo Liang.
Except for Lee, the others could not be reached for comment by press time.
Aretae also declined to comment on the changes when contacted.
One of the main reasons behind the management change was believed to be the managers' high salaries, given the company's performance.
To this, Lee said: "The recent management changes are not because of the team's professional competencies, but a result of what is appropriate for the company's current stage of development--essentially, a timing issue."
Different people and skills are required during different stages of a company's growth, he explained. "While I have enjoyed and gained much from the experience with Aretae, I also recognize that my talents and skills are probably better suited somewhere else."
Aretae's general manager of Singapore Hoo Shao Pin will be leading the new management team, he added.
Lee, whose last day with the company was on May 31, stressed that he would remain a shareholder and director of the company. "I still believe in the company's viability and business potential, and am also willing to--and believe that--I can continue to contribute to its development," he said.
When asked about his future plans, he would only say that he had received "a few business propositions" but that he remains undecided.
Last month, Lee said that the company was in the process of restructuring to ensure that its business is viable for the long term.
Responding then to talk that Aretae had retrenched 45 employees, Lee said: "No, we did not retrench 45 people. But, if there is a need, we'll not hesitate to restructure the organization to whatever size that's necessary for long-term viability."