UOB chairman emeritus & billionaire Wee Cho Yaw dies aged 95

His father co-founded UOB.

Alfie Kwa | February 03, 2024, 12:36 PM



Chairman emeritus of United Overseas Bank (UOB) Wee Cho Yaw passed away at the age 95.

According to Lianhe Zaobao, he died at around 1 am on Saturday (Feb. 3).

Wee Cho Yaw's UOB involvement

UOB was co-founded by his father, Wee Khiang Cheng, in 1935 under its previous name, United Chinese Bank.

The younger Wee took over from his father in 1960 at the age of 31.

He stepped down as the bank's chairman in 2013 and retired from his six-decade-long role as director and from the UOB board in 2018.

Wee's oldest son Wee Ee Chong is UOB's deputy chairman and Chief Executive Officer (CEO), while his younger son Wee Ee Lim has a board seat.

During his term as Group Chairman and CEO, the bank’s network expanded from 75 to more than 500 branches and offices globally, reported The Business Times.

Its assets also increased from S$2.8 billion to more than S$253 billion through its pursuit of disciplined and sustainable growth.

The Business Times described his "most high-profile deal" to be when he beat rival DBS in a takeover battle of Overseas Union Bank in 2001.

His latest title at the bank was Chairman Emeritus and Honorary Adviser.

Wee ranked eighth in the list of Singapore's 50 richest in 2023 by Forbes.

Philanthropy work

Wee was also known for his philanthropy work such as the National University of Singapore and Nanyang Technological University's Wee Cho Yaw Future Leaders Award where students had the chance to apply for a scholarship covering tuition fees, annual living allowance and other financial benefits.

He also set up the Wee Foundation in 2008 with S$30 million to help Singapore's underprivileged and to promote the Chinese language and culture.

Wee's eldest son said in a media release today (Feb. 3):

“My father has left an indelible mark in Singapore and the region. He has been a source of inspiration for me in all aspects of my life. Much will be said about his business acumen and dealmaking but it will be the values of honour, enterprise, unity and commitment that will be the legacy he leaves us at UOB. Whether it is through thinking for the long-term, the importance of deep relationships, doing the right thing or giving a helping hand to those in need, the influence of my father and his values will endure at UOB.”

Top images via UOB.