DR RICHARD HELFER
Dr Richard Charles Helfer – Professional Bio
Dr Helfer’s professional experience spans 4 decades, with 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, technology, 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, Middle East, Australia and North/South America, including launching public listings in Singapore and London.
Hospitality, Tourism, Lifestyle
As the Founding Chairman & CEO of Raffles International as well as President and CEO of Raffles Holdings, over a period of 15 years, Dr Helfer grew Raffles International and public listed Raffles Holdings.
Under Dr Helfer’s direction, Raffles International expanded from a single 103 all suites hotel in Singapore to encompass 36 hotels & resorts globally, including the acquisition of the Swissotel Group. During his time at Raffles, Dr Helfer conceptualised and built the Raffles Brand internationally with over 12,000 rooms in 31 destinations across Asia Pacific, Europe, the Middle East and the Americas, creating extensive brand and major financial value for its investors. Under Dr Helfer’s direction, Raffles was the first Asia-based hotel company with annual revenues in excess of $1 billion.
During his time at Raffles International, Dr Helfer led the acquisition, development, conceptualisation, master planning and re-debut of a number of historic and newly built hotels. 10 Raffles International properties were recognised as being among the top 100 hotels in the world during this period.
Among other positions, Dr Helfer was Chairman of Raffles Hotel and Swissotel Hotels & Resorts, as well as being a member of the Singapore Tourism Board, the National Tourism Authority of Cambodia and the World Travel & Tourism Council (London).
Prior to Raffles International, Dr Helfer spent 18 years as part of the senior management team of Westin Hotels and Resorts, involved in the opening and operations of a number of international luxury properties in Canada, United States and Singapore. These include the Mauna Kea Beach Hotel in Hawaii, Detroit Plaza Hotel in Detroit and in Singapore, the Westin Stamford and Westin Plaza.
Dr Helfer served on the Board of Directors & Executive Committee of The Farrer Park Company and as Founding Chairman of One Farrer Hotel & Spa, where he conceptualised and led the development of the hotel and conference centre, with Creo Lifestyle providing pre-opening, marketing and management services. The hotel received much recognition for its support of arts & culture and a number of invocative operating concepts, being rated amongst the “Top 25 Hotels in Singapore 2017-2022”.
Since 2009, Dr Helfer has been the Chairman of Yanua International, guiding the development of this Asia-centric ‘lighthouse’ lifestyle branding, based on the founding philosophies of China & Greater Asia.
Dr Helfer has been the motivation behind international lifestyle events such as ‘An Evening at Angkor with Jose Carreras’, as well as Chairman of Spotlight Singapore and Asian Cultural Enterprise.
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.
As a member of the Executive Management Committee of DBS Land and its successor CapitaLand, Dr Helfer provided expertise on property development in the hospitality, tourism, retail and commercial sectors.
During the public listing of Singapore Yellow Pages and Singapore Airport Terminal Services (SATS), Dr Helfer served as a board director, as well as being Chairman of the public listing of SGL Vietnam Development in London.
Dr Helfer was a member of the Board of Singapore General Hospital during its restructuring. He also served as a director of the Farrer Park Hospital during its conceptualisation, development and opening phases.
Education, Public Sector
Dr Helfer served on the Board of Trustees of the Singapore Institute of Technology (SIT) for over a decade, including as the Chairman of its Campus Development Committee, oversighting at Board level, the development of its new campus. He currently holds the position of Adjunct Professor in the Business, Communication and Design Cluster of SIT and is a member of the EXCO of the cluster.
Dr Helfer was the 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.
As head of an international consortium, Dr Helfer proposed and developed the Sovereign Credit Rating for the Royal Government of Cambodia, providing the foundation to establish its financial sector. Dr Helfer is an Advisor to The King and Prime Minister of Cambodia, as we’ll as having been granted full citizenship by the Cambodian Government.
Community, Social Enterprises
As Chairman of YANUA International, Dr Helfer has furthered the lifetime adoption of five Giant Pandas and the decade-long support of the Chengdu Research Base of Giant Panda Breeding in panda conservation.
Dr Helfer is a Life Member of the Young Presidents’ Organization, and World Presidents’ Organization.
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 Base of Giant Panda Breeding in panda conservation
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