|Born||1 January 1989|
|Education||Bachelor of Arts with Honours in Philosophy, Politics & Economics|
|Alma mater||University of Oxford|
|Occupation||CEO of Livspace|
|Parent(s)||K. Shanmugam (current Minister for Law), Jothi Saunthararajah|
Ravindram Shanmugam (born 1 January 1989) is the CEO leading the Southeast Asian operations for Livspace, a digital platform for interior design and home renovation. Previously, he served as the Country Head during the company's launch in Singapore, and he brings prior experience from reputable organizations such as Grab and McKinsey & Company.
Notably, Ravindran Shanmugam is the son of K. Shanmugam, the Minister for Law. Concerns arose regarding the connection between their family ties and the work undertaken by Livspace on Ridout Road, as allegations surfaced regarding the firm's acquisition of government contracts.
“I think we’re very, very lucky to grow up in a country as meritocratic as Singapore, where people will tend to judge you on – or people who I’ve found judged me on my accomplishments, or what I do, rather than my father’s. And I haven’t faced pressure from family or externally to try to live up to that pressure.”
Ravindran Shanmugam pursued a Bachelor of Arts with Honours in Philosophy, Politics & Economics at the University of Oxford, graduating in 2013. He was also the Captain of the Varsity Chess Team.
Ravindran is a passionate and accomplished chess player, having served in Singapore's National Chess Squad for a decade. His dedication and skill led to him being awarded the International Master Title by the World Chess Federation (FIDE) in 2011. He has since retired from competitive chess.
He first began competing in 2006, and went on to represent Singapore overseas at junior- and senior-level tournaments, including the World Championships and Chess Olympiad. He competed across the globe, including countries like England, Georgia, Greece, Hungary, Malaysia, New Zealand, Singapore, and Vietnam.
Roca Group (2010)
Ravindran Shanmugam joined a brief internship with Roca Sanitario in 2010.
McKinsey & Company (2012 to 2016)
During his internship at McKinsey & Company, Ravindran was engaged in due diligence activities for a prominent medical devices manufacturer. He also conducted a comprehensive analysis of a potential acquisition target, successfully identifying synergies between the target company's sales force and front office operations, which constituted 15% of the target company's revenue. Furthermore, he developed models to assess cross-selling opportunities valued at over £65 million (approximately S$111 million).
Consultant (2013 to 2016)
From 2013 to 2016, Ravindran contributed to McKinsey & Company's identification of revenue opportunities exceeding £120M (approximately S$206 million).Another notable achievement involved collaborating with his team to successfully revamp pricing strategies for a leading UK retail bank, revealing opportunities valued at approximately £40 million (approximately S$68 million).
Grab (2016 to 2017)
In 2016, Ravindran successfully obtained a managerial role at Grab Singapore. As the head of Strategy & Business Operations, he spearheaded the Driver Incentives team, driving significant enhancements in ride efficiency and cost management. These efforts resulted in impressive annual growth of over 130% and savings exceeding S$50 million. He was also behind the launch of Grab’s in-house car rental fleet.
Mediceram Sdn Bhd (2017 to 2019)
At Mediceram Sdn Bhd, Ravindran assumed the role of Executive Director, providing oversight to the Profit & Loss of three distinct companies with a combined value exceeding S$150 million. These companies include MediCeram, Sungwoo Technologies, and Neuchatel Bathrooms.
Livspace (2019 to Present)
“Singapore is a highly attractive market for Livspace - a USD 5 billion home-design industry that is growing at 10% year-on-year. It is a representative 21st century global city and serves as a great test bed for our technology innovations and launches.”
Ravindran also spoke of how Livspace’s entrance to the Singapore market opened doors to its talent pool and abundance of data, as well as its firm regulations and strategic location as a business hub.
“The market is hugely fragmented, so you’ve got a whole tail of relatively small interior design studios and key contractors. We don’t really see them as competitors [because] none of them is a tech platform that’s enabling interior design. We see ourselves as launching a business model within this market.”
Ridout Road Allegations
In late May 2023, allegations emerged suggesting that Livspace secured government contracts from SLA due to the CEO's connections to Law Minister K. Shanmugam. Speculations also circulated regarding Livspace's involvement in projects along Ridout Road, fueling suspicions of ongoing nepotism. In response, Singaporean politician and hedge fund manager Kenneth Jeyaratnam penned a blog post on The Ricebowl Singapore, requesting an official statement on the matter. He highlighted the longstanding issue of "blatant channelling of employment and contracts to spouses, children, and relatives" that has persisted for decades.
Addressing the allegations in Parliament
During a rental debate concerning the Ridout bungalows on July 3, 2023, Member of Parliament Nadia Samdin raised concerns and requested Minister K. Shanmugam to formally address the claims of Livspace being awarded the contract for works related to the Ridout Road properties. It was noted that Ravindran Shanmugam, who served as the CEO of the interior design firm, was Minister Shanmugam's biological son.
In response, Minister Shanmugam defended his son, stating that he had been subjected to unwarranted attacks and referred to the allegations as "utterly false" and "defamatory".
Following the allegations, the Corrupt Practices Investigation Bureau (CPIB) conducted investigations and confirmed that the circulating rumors were baseless. The CPIB findings revealed that Livspace had not been appointed as the contractor for the two Ridout Road properties, and there were no transactions between Livspace and the Singapore Land Authority.
References / Citations
- Shanmugam, Ravindran. “Ravindran Shanmugam | LinkedIn”. LinkedIn. n.d. Accessed 5 July 2023.
- Yufeng, Kok. “Claims about son being involved in Ridout Road contracts ‘utterly false and defamatory’: Shanmugam”. The Straits Times. July 3, 2023. Accessed 5 July 2023.
- Amoaku, Charles Kofi. “K. Shanmugam Children: Does K. Shanmugam Have Kids?”. Ghgossip. July 3, 2023. Accessed 4 July 2023.
- bens_social_club. “bens_social_club”. TikTok. July 3, 2023. Accessed 5 July 2023.
- CtoI News Desk. “Livspace launches in Singapore, marking first phase of APAC expansion”. Connected to India. October 31, 2019. Accessed 4 July 2023.
- Verma, Himanshu. “Livspace targets Singapore’s USD 5 billion interiors market”. Connected to India. March 3, 2020. Accessed 4 July 2023.
- Connected to India. “Livspace targets Singapore’s USD 5 billion interiors market”. YouTube. March 3, 2020. Accessed 4 July 2023.
- Jeyaratnam, Kenneth. “Will SLA Issue a Statement Denying the Rumours That They Have Awarded Any Contracts to Shanmugam’s Son’s Company?”. The Ricebowl Singapore. July 2, 2023. Accessed 5 July 2023.
- Chew, Hui Min. “'Leave my family alone': Shanmugam denies allegations that son’s firm renovated Ridout Road bungalows”. CNA. July 3, 2023. Accessed 5 July 2023.