Wee Cho Yaw Biography
Wee Cho Yaw was a Singaporean billionaire businessman, chairman emeritus and honorary adviser of the United Overseas Bank (UOB), and chairman of the UOL Group.
Wee joined the board of directors of the United Chinese Bank (now the United Overseas Bank) in 1958.
He was appointed managing director of the bank two years later; and when his father Wee Kheng Chiang, founder of United Chinese Bank, retired in 1974, Wee succeeded him as chairman.
His son Wee Ee Chong succeeded him as chief executive officer of UOB. He died on 3 February 2024, at the age of 95.
Who was Wee Cho Yaw?
Born in Singapore, Wee Cho Yaw grew up in a banking family. His father founded the United Overseas Bank in 1935, and Wee Cho Yaw became part of the Board of Directors of what was then known as the United Chinese Bank in 1958.
He became Managing Director in 1960, and began to serve as CEO in 1974, when his father chose to retire.
He served as CEO until 2007, when he stepped down, and his son, Wee Ee Chong took over as CEO.
In addition to his bank interests, he has also invested in significant amounts of land through Kheng Leong, and his family owns nearly 25% of Haw Par, the company that manufacturers the pain-relieving ointment, “Tiger Palm”.
He was awarded the Public Service Star by the government of Singapore in the early 70s, and an honorary doctorate by the University of Singapore in 2008.
Wee Cho Yaw Wife
Wee Cho Yaw’s wife is Chuang Yong Eng, a Singaporean woman of Chinese descent. They married in 1955 and had five children together.
Wee Cho Yaw Children
Wee Chow Yaw had five children, who are all involved in his family’s business and philanthropic activities. Their names and roles are:
Wee Ee Cheong: The eldest son and the current deputy chairman and CEO of UOB.
Wee Wei Ling: The eldest daughter and the executive director of Pan Pacific Hotels Group, a subsidiary of UOL Group.
Ee-chao Wee: The second son and the chairman of UOL Group and United Industrial Corporation, both property development companies.
Ee Lim Wee: The third son and the chairman of Haw Par Corporation, a healthcare and leisure company.
Wee Wei Chi: The youngest daughter and the executive director of Kheng Leong Company, the family’s investment entity.
Wee Cho Yaw Net worth
Wee Cho Yaw is a businessman who has a net worth of $8.3 billion dollars which makes him the richest person in Singapore.
Wee Cho Yaw Cause of death
Wee Cho Yaw passed away on February 3, 2024, at the age of 95. The cause of his death was not disclosed to the public.
After news of Mr Wee’s death broke, tributes poured in from political leaders, as well as organisations that were closely associated with him.
President Tharman Shanmugaratnam called the late banker “a tenacious, but very warm personality”.
Mr Tharman said: “He had an insatiable appetite for work and a shrewd eye for opportunities – unmatched in local banking. He was also committed to his staff. It made UOB a leading bank in the region, and helped build up our financial centre.”
He added that Mr Wee’s community leadership – at the Singapore Hokkien Huay Kuan and Singapore Federation of Chinese Clan Associations (SFCCA) – had left a permanent legacy.
“Wee Cho Yaw was simply unique. He left us today at age 95, but will never be forgotten,” Mr Tharman said.
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