Monday, January 23, 2012

Groomed to take family business forward

Straits Times: Mon, Jan 23
MR JOSHUA Yeoh, 22, dutifully waits for his father Francis Yeoh to wrap up the interview at YTL Group's Singapore office in the bustling shopping belt of Orchard Road to hop on to a flight back to Kuala Lumpur.

That very evening, Mr Yeoh, 58, will celebrate with, no doubt, star-studded guests the new look of Starhill Gallery, a mall in upscale Bukit Bintang, one of his famed drab-to-fab creations.

The youngest of five siblings, Mr Joshua Yeoh recently graduated from Cambridge University with a master's in civil engineering, and has two more weeks to cap his internship at investment bank UBS Warburg after which he will cut his teeth in the mammoth business empire his father has painstakingly built up over almost four decades.

Ms Ruth Yeoh, 29, the elder daughter and executive director of YTL Singapore, peeks into the room to check in on her father during the interview. They exchange hugs and she saunters off to her office.

There is more where they come from. Ruth and Joshua are only two of a batch of 27 of the YTL bloodline (YTL stands for Yeoh Tiang Lay - founder of the group and the elder Mr Yeoh's father) pottering about in the many units that represent the smorgasbord of businesses held under the sprawling YTL umbrella which spans Malaysia, Singapore, Indonesia, China, Australia and Britain.

Eventually, one of these privileged young people - the children, nephews and nieces of Mr Yeoh, armed with elite academic qualifications - will lead the mammoth family enterprise beaten into steady shape by its chief steward...

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Team Marshe
Martin Koh/ Sherry Tang
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