Former SICC exec director dies, aged 78

Mr Hayward was one of the first to lead teams from Singapore to explore new business frontiers.
Mr Hayward was one of the first to lead teams from Singapore to explore new business frontiers.

Mr Graham Hayward, former executive director of the Singapore International Chamber of Commerce (SICC), died on Friday after an illness. He was 78.

Known for his dedication to SICC members, the Englishman was also lauded as a staunch advocate of Singapore as a home for international businesses.

As SICC chief executive Victor Mills recalls, Mr Hayward was "indefatigable" during his 16-year tenure as the chamber's executive director from 1987 to 2003.

"He was always interested in serving chamber members and creating value for them and their collaborators," Mr Mills says.

Part of Mr Hayward's legacy was SICC's much improved financial health under his watch. The chamber had not needed to raise membership fees in 16 years.

"He also promoted Singapore abroad at every opportunity because he believed in and loved this country which he made his home."

In his capacity as the chamber leader and a long-time expatriate, Mr Hayward, who came to Singapore in 1963, provided invaluable counsel to many foreign business delegations and leaders venturing here.

Mrs Lee Ju Song, who was Mr Hayward's deputy, remembers his tireless trips to countries such as Vietnam, Cambodia and Myanmar in the 1990s, being among the first to lead Singapore delegations to explore new business frontiers.

"Graham also introduced bilateral dialogues with several statutory boards and government agencies. These included the rather successful annual dialogue with the Manpower Ministry on Singapore immigration policies.

"Graham was very much a part of the Singapore scene and members who had worked with him will remember his willingness and tireless efforts to champion the cause of business. He will be a hard act to follow," Mrs Lee says.

Among friends, Mr Hayward was an endearing figure, eager to share his passion for jazz music and wine.

Mr Mills adds: "I first met Graham at the wine society we both belonged to. He was a true bon vivant with a great appreciation for and knowledge of wine.

"A generous host, Graham enjoyed his life and everything that he did. It was a life well lived."

Mr Hayward is survived by his wife and two daughters.

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on March 02, 2017, with the headline 'Former SICC exec director dies, aged 78'. Print Edition | Subscribe