Former OCBC chairman Lee Seng Wee dies at 85

Mr Lee Seng Wee leaves behind a wife, three children and six grandchildren. In a statement, OCBC noted that the late banker "built a very strategic and complete platform for the OCBC Group of companies to compete and excel in the financial services i
Mr Lee Seng Wee leaves behind a wife, three children and six grandchildren. In a statement, OCBC noted that the late banker "built a very strategic and complete platform for the OCBC Group of companies to compete and excel in the financial services industry".PHOTO: OCBC BANK

He sustained a head injury during a fall and succumbed to complications

Former OCBC Bank chairman Lee Seng Wee has died, aged 85.

He passed away peacefully last Friday. He leaves behind his wife, three children and six grandchildren. A private service with cremation was held last Saturday.

Mr Lee was the third son of renowned Singapore philanthropist and businessman Lee Kong Chian, who spearheaded the merger of several small banks to create OCBC. But Mr Lee Seng Wee also made his mark in the world.

The banker and philanthropist was OCBC's chairman from August 1995 to June 2003 and was instrumental in all its major acquisitions.

He was also the chairman of the board of trustees of the Temasek Trust and a director of several firms, including Lee Rubber Group Companies and Lee Foundation.

 

In 2008, he received the prestigious Woodrow Wilson Award for Corporate Citizenship, which recognises executives who have shown a deep concern for the common good beyond the bottom line.

In a statement, OCBC noted that the late banker "built a very strategic and complete platform for the OCBC group of companies to compete and excel in the financial services industry".

"He had always guided the running of OCBC Bank with the highest integrity and the biggest heart," the bank said. "He made sure that no staff was laid off during the financial crises and that the career development of all employees is carefully considered."

Former OCBC chairman Cheong Choong Kong, who knew Mr Lee for many years, said: "He was a gentle soul, a gentleman in every respect, soft-spoken and modest. Never one to flaunt his wealth, he was totally without airs. He disdained ostentation and bombast. Thoughtful and kind, he appreciated the old-fashioned qualities of integrity and loyalty."

Mr Lee sustained a head injury during a fall last Friday and was taken to Singapore General Hospital where, neurosurgery was performed. He eventually succumbed to the complications of the fall.

His family requests to let them mourn in private and asked not to have wreaths or condolences. Donations can instead be made to the National Neuroscience Institute's Health Research Endowment Fund.

The family also expresses its gratitude to Dr Chumpon Chan, Dr June Goh and Dr Ng Wai Hoe, as well as all doctors, nurses and staff of the SGH neurosurgical operating theatre and neurosciences intensive care unit.

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on August 11, 2015, with the headline 'Former OCBC chairman Lee Seng Wee dies at 85'. Print Edition | Subscribe