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Singapore banking tycoon, UOB boss Wee Cho Yaw, passes away at 95.

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TLDR: Singapore banking tycoon Wee Cho Yaw, former chairman and CEO of UOB Group, has passed away at the age of 95. Wee was a visionary banker and one of Southeast Asia’s most successful businessmen, having led UOB Group for over 60 years. He was also the chairman of real estate developer UOL Group. Wee’s contributions extend beyond business as he led the Hokkien Huay Kuan and was the founding president of the Singapore Federation of Chinese Clan Associations. He was instrumental in the formation of the Chinese Development Assistance Council, which helps less fortunate Chinese families and academically weaker students. Wee’s eldest son, Wee Ee Cheong, is the current CEO of UOB.

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TLDR:

  • Singapore banking tycoon Wee Cho Yaw, former chairman and CEO of UOB Group, has passed away at the age of 95.
  • Wee led UOB Group for over 60 years and was one of Southeast Asia’s most successful businessmen.

Singapore’s banking tycoon, Wee Cho Yaw, has died at the age of 95. Wee served as the chairman and CEO of UOB Group for over 60 years before retiring in 2018. He was also the chairman of real estate developer UOL Group. UOB released a statement expressing deep sadness and honoring Wee as a visionary banker, celebrated businessman, and community pillar. Born in Kinmen in 1930, Wee relocated to Singapore as a child amid the Sino-Japanese war. At the age of 28, he became the youngest director on the board of United Chinese Bank, which was later renamed United Overseas Bank (UOB). Under Wee’s leadership, UOB became Singapore’s third-largest bank by market capitalization. Wee was consistently ranked as one of Singapore’s wealthiest individuals and was eighth on Forbes’ list of Singapore’s richest people in 2023, with a net worth of US$7.2 billion. Wee’s eldest son, Wee Ee Cheong, currently serves as the CEO of UOB and expressed his father’s profound impact on Singapore and the region. Wee Ee Cheong highlighted his father’s business acumen, values of honor, enterprise, unity, and commitment, which will serve as his legacy at UOB. Wee was not only known for his achievements in the banking industry but also for his significant contributions to Singapore. He led the Hokkien Huay Kuan, one of Singapore’s largest clan associations, for nearly four decades. He was also the founding president of the Singapore Federation of Chinese Clan Associations (SFCCA) and played a vital role in the establishment of the Chinese Development Assistance Council (CDAC), a nonprofit self-help group aimed at supporting less fortunate Chinese families and academically weaker students. Wee’s contributions to the community were recognized by Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong, who described him as a “prime mover” behind the CDAC. Wee was also involved in the education sector, serving as a council member of the National University of Singapore (NUS) and later as pro-chancellor of the Nanyang Technological University (NTU). Both universities awarded him an honorary doctor of letters for his contributions. Wee Cho Yaw leaves behind an indelible mark on Singapore’s banking industry and community.

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