'Humble, personable, charismatic': About 500 mourners bid final farewell to bank tycoon Wee So Ya

SINGAPORE — To some, the late Wee Cho Yau, the former chairman and chief executive officer of Singapore bank UOB, was intimidating, but UOB's head of corporate banking, Rosalind Lee, remembers him as a personable „guiding angel”.

„I came from OUB and before I joined the UOB family, a lot of people told me he was too intimidating,” said Ms Lee, 62, who has worked at the bank for more than four decades.

„But for me, from my dealings with him, he's not really intimidating if you've done your homework. In fact, during meetings, even if he asks a lot of tough questions, if you're thorough in your work, he'll support you,” he added.

Ms. Lee spoke to reporters during a memorial service for Wei at the UOP Plaza Atrium on Wednesday (Feb. 7). He died on Saturday (Feb. 3) at the age of 95.

Wee, who led UOB Group for more than 60 years, continued to serve as chairman emeritus and honorary adviser to the bank before retiring from its board in 2018.

Tham Chong, 60, head of sales management and quality at UOB's financial services division, who has worked at the bank for 36 years, was struck by Bong Wei's personable side.

Although he joined the bank in 1988, the first impression of Mr Tham Wee still remains vivid.

„Dr Wee organized the lunch to get to know the new recruits and new people joining the bank,” said Mr Tham.

These lunches are like an „open dialogue session” where Vee talks about the problems they face and suggestions to make the bank a better workplace.

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„When you enter your first year at a bank, we rarely hear about other companies where you meet the CEO and it's for an informal lunch session,” said Mr Tham, adding that his first impression of Dr Wee was a modest, honest and „very charismatic” leader.

Ms Lee and Mr Tham were among the 500 or so UOB staff and members of the public who gathered to bid a final farewell to Wee.

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