Dr Richard Charles Helfer – Professional Bio

Dr Helfer’s professional experience spans 4 decades and includes expertise at the highest levels of ownership, management and business operations.

Such experience has included hands-on management, leading to the successful building of a global luxury brand and international hotel & resort management company, as well as strategic career-long involvement in hospitality, tourism, property & commercial development, healthcare, public sector, education, community and social enterprises.

As Chairman of RCH International and Creo Lifestyle International, Dr Helfer provides strategic advising, oversight and direction to family offices, organizations and governments.

Dr Helfer has chaired or been a member of a number of public and private Boards of Directors in Asia, Europe, Australia and North/South America, including launching public listings in Singapore and London.

Hospitality, Tourism, Lifestyle
As the founding Chairman and CEO of Raffles International (1989 – 2003) as well as President and CEO of Raffles Holdings (1995 – 2003), Dr Helfer grew Raffles International and public listed Raffles Holdings on the Singapore Stock Exchange.

From a single 103-all suite hotel in Singapore, Raffles expanded to 36 hotels/resorts (including the acquisition of Swissotels). During his time at Raffles, Dr Helfer conceptualized and built the Raffles Brand internationally with over 12,000 rooms in 31 destinations across Asia Pacific, Europe, the Middle East and the Americas, it being the first Asia based hotel company with annual revenues in excess of $1 billion.

Dr Helfer further led the acquisition / development, conceptualization, master planning and re-debut of a number of historic / new hotels / resorts including Raffles Hotel, Raffles The Plaza, Swissotel The Stamford, Swissotel Merchant Court (Singapore), Raffles Le Royal and Raffles Grand Hotel D’Angkor (Cambodia), Swissotel The Bosphorus (Istanbul), Raffles L’Ermitage (Beverly Hills) and Brown’s Hotel (London). 10 Raffles properties were recognized as being among the top 100 hotels in the world, during this period.

Dr Helfer has served as a director of the Singapore Tourism Board, Chairman of Raffles Hotel, Raffles City, Montreux Palace and Swissotel Hotels & Resorts, as well as being at the cabinet level, a member of the National Tourism Authority of Cambodia and the World Travel & Tourism Council.

Dr Helfer from 2007 through 2017 served as the Board of Directors & Executive Committee of The Farrer Park Company and as Chairman of One Farrer Hotel & Spa. Dr Helfer conceptualized and led the development of the hotel and conference centre with Creo Lifestyle providing pre-opening, marketing and management services (2010 – 2017), bringing it to financial stability and marketplace acceptance, including being listed among the “Top 25 hotels in Singapore” by Trip Advisor for 2017 and 2018.

Dr Helfer has been the motivation behind international lifestyle events such as “An Evening at Angkor with Jose Carreras”. As Chairman of Spotlight Singapore, he guided the team that brought this collaboration between art, culture, business, education and government to Hongkong, Tokyo, Moscow and Cape Town.

Property, Commerical, Healthcare
Dr Helfer has been instrumental in the conceptualization, master planning, design and development of a number of mixed-use developments and over 160 signature F&B concepts / operations. Such developments include: Raffles City Shopping Centre, Raffles Hotel & Arcades, Clarke Quay Festival Marketplace and Connexion Complex (Singapore), THREE On The Bund (Shanghai), Galle Face Hotel & Arcade (Sri Lanka).

Dr Helfer was a member of the Executive Management Committee of DBS Land and its successor CapitaLand, in regards to property development in the hospitality, tourism and retail / commercial sectors.

Dr Helfer served on the Board of Directors during the public listing of Singapore Yellow Pages and Singapore Airport Terminal Services (SATS) in Singapore, as well as being Chairman of the public listing of SGL Vietnam Development in London.

Dr Helfer was a member of the Board of Directors of Singapore General Hospital during its restructuring, and the Farrer Park Hospital during this development and opening phases.

Education, Public SectorDr Helfer is a Member of the Board of Trustees of the Singapore Institute of Technology (SIT) and is Chairman of its Campus Development Committee, oversighting at Board level, the development of its new campus.

From 2008 – 2017, Dr Helfer served as the founding Chairman of Republic Polytechnic’s School of Hospitality Advisory Committee and is a founding member of the Advisory Board of Ecole Hoteliere De Lausanne, Singapore.

Dr Helfer, in concert with Credit Suisse, developed the Sovereign Credit Rating for the Royal Government of Cambodia, providing the foundation to establish its financial sector and maintained oversight of this rating for its initial years. Dr Helfer is an Advisor to The King and Prime Minister of Cambodia.

Dr Helfer was a member of the Board of the Singapore Skills Development Fund, as well as the Preservation of Monuments Board and the Urban Redevelopment Conservation Review Panel, he also served as the official representative of the Tianjin Investment & Promotion Center in Singapore. Dr Helfer is currently a member of the Advisory Board of Validus Capital, Singapore’s leading online, business financing platform.

Community, Social Enterprises

Since 1993, Dr Helfer has been a member of the Young Presidents’ Organization (YPO), CEO and the World Presidents’ Organization (WPO).

Dr Helfer in his role of working with and advising family offices has been involved in the lifetime adoption of 5 Giant Pandas and the decade long support of the Chengdu Research Bae of Giant Panda Breeding in panda conservations.

In the area of social enterprises, Dr Helfer is Chairman of Sculpture Square; Singapore’s pioneer 3-D contemporary arts organization, as well as Chairman of Living Arts International, Cambodian Living Arts and Mekong Cultural Hub; integrating arts and culture into the life experiences of young people in post conflict societies.


  • BA (Hons) Hotel and Restaurant Management, Michigan State University, USA
  • DBA (Doctor of Business Administration) Hospitality Management, Johnson & Wales University, USA