No staff, no chair: How Yong Pung How helped build GIC

This piece on Mr Yong Pung How's involvement with GIC is from the final chapter of Safeguarding The Future, a book by Freddy Orchard which charts the founding of the Singapore wealth fund. Mr Yong, who died last week at age 93, was a former chief justice whose career spanned the Government, law and finance.

Dr Goh Keng Swee (second from left) and then GIC managing director Yong Pung How (far left) meeting then New South Wales Premier Neville Wran (second from right) and his team in 1982. When Dr Goh approached Mr Yong to helm GIC, Mr Yong was startled,
Dr Goh Keng Swee (second from left) and then GIC managing director Yong Pung How (far left) meeting then New South Wales Premier Neville Wran (second from right) and his team in 1982. When Dr Goh approached Mr Yong to helm GIC, Mr Yong was startled, for the proposal had come "out of the blue".ST FILE PHOTO

The concept had to be turned into reality.

It was done pragmatically and expeditiously. There was no inauguration ceremony, no fanfare to mark the birth of the new company. The company's first managing director began his tenure with only a desk and an unusable telephone.

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A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Sunday Times on January 12, 2020, with the headline 'No staff, no chair: How Yong Pung How helped build GIC'. Subscribe