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Philip Yeo


Philip YEO (Chairman)

Chairman of SPRING Singapore


As Chairman of SPRING Singapore, Dr Philip Yeo guides the government development agency with the mission of enabling and growing local companies, especially Small and Medium Enterprises.


Dr Yeo is recognized for his contributions to Singapore’s economic development and his pioneering role in the promotion and development of the country’s information technology, semiconductor, chemical industries and biomedical sciences. He was the chairman of the Agency for Science, Technology and Research (A*STAR, formerly the National Science & Technology Board) from February 2001 to March 2007. Dr Yeo was formerly the chairman of the Economic Development Board from January 1986 to January 2001 and Co-Chairman of the Economic Development Board from February 2001 to January 2006.


Dr Yeo serves as a member of the United Nations Committee of Experts in Public Administration (CEPA), established by the Economic and Social Council (ECOSOC) from 2010-2013 for the promotion and development of public administration and governance among Member States, in connection with the United Nations Development Agenda.


Dr Yeo graduated in 1970 in Applied Science (Industrial Engineering) from the University of Toronto, Canada under a Colombo Plan Scholarship. He obtained a Master of Science (Systems Engineering) from the University of Singapore in 1974. In 1976, he obtained a Master in Business Administration from Harvard University, USA, under a Fulbright scholarship.


He joined the Administrative Service in June 1970 and served in the Ministry of Defence where he held several appointments including the appointment of Permanent Secretary for Defence in 1979, for logistics, technology research & development and defence industries before assuming his appointment of Chairman, Economic Development Board in January 1986. He retired from the Administrative Service on 31st March 1999.


Dr Yeo also served as the founding Chairman of the National Computer Board from 1981 to 1987. He played a leading role in formulating and championing Singapore’s first national computerization plan to evolve the nation into the information age.


Outside the public sector, Dr Yeo was a Board Member (from 1980 to 1993) and Chairman of the Executive Committee of Singapore Technologies Holdings and of several of its subsidiaries from 1987 to 1993.


He became the Chairman of Sembawang Corporation in January 1994 and was the Chairman of SembCorp Industries, since its incorporation in 1998 to September 1999.


Dr Yeo has been a member of the Board of United Overseas Bank (UOB) since 2000. He also holds directorships at City Development and Bumi Plc of the UK.


Dr Yeo is the Chairman of Accuron Technologies Ltd (formerly Singapore Precisions Industries 2000), an aerospace and precision engineering company based in Singapore, and of its subsidiary, Singapore Aerospace Manufacturing.


He is chairman of Medical Technologies Investment Company Holdings and Ascendas India Trust.


For his public service, Dr Yeo was awarded the Public Administration Medal (Silver) in 1974, the Public Administration Medal (Gold) in 1982 and the Meritorious Service Medal in 1991. In 1987, he was awarded the Eisenhower Exchange Fellowship, USA for the period March to May 1987.


In 1994, the Indonesian Government conferred on Dr Yeo its highest civilian honour, the Bintang Jasa Utama (the First Class Order of Service Award) in recognition of his role in fostering good bilateral ties between Indonesia and Singapore. In 1996, Dr Yeo was conferred the Ordre National du Merite (National Order of Merit) for his contribution/leadership in enhancing ties between Singapore and France. In February 1998, Dr Yeo was honoured by the Belgium Government with the Commander of the Belgium National Order of the Crown for his personal merits in promoting the cooperation between Belgian and Singapore industries.


In June 1997, Dr Yeo was conferred a Honorary Doctorate in Engineering by his alma mater, the University of Toronto in recognition of an illustrious alumnus.


In November 1998, the International Society of Design and Process Science honoured Dr Yeo with the K T Li Award for contributing significantly to economic and societal development. He was recognized for his contribution to Singapore’s economic development and for his pioneering role in the development of Singapore’s IT industry.


Dr Yeo was awarded the CEO Lifetime Achievement Award, Asia Pacific IPA Awards in 2003.


In 2006, Dr Yeo received several awards which include the honorary degree of Doctor of Medicine by Karolinska Institutet, in recognition of his efforts in building and developing Singapore’s medical research and education, and his role in facilitating collaborations between Singapore and leading international universities, the 11th Nikkei Asia Prize for Science, Technology and Innovation Award for his involvement in drafting and implementing Singapore’s science and technology strategy, particularly in the biomedical sciences, The Order of the Nila Utama (First Class, one of the most prestigious Singapore National Day Awards) award conferred by the President of Singapore on Dr Yeo for his over 30 years of outstanding contributions to Singapore - who is central to jumpstarting the biomedical science in Singapore, his dedication in nurturing bright young talents through scholarships, building up of key industries and securing mutually beneficial economic partnerships and the Harvard Business School's prestigious Alumni Achievement Award 2006, which was instituted in 1968 to recognize distinguished graduates who have contributed significantly to their companies and communities whilst upholding the highest standards and values. Dr Yeo is the first Singaporean to receive such award for his exemplary leadership role in the Singapore public service.


In 2007, Dr Yeo was awarded the Doctor of Science degree from Imperial College London Honoris Causa for being one of Singapore’s true pioneers of economic development in harnessing Singapore’s skills in industries such as semiconductors, aerospace, specialty chemicals and biomedical sciences. Dr Yeo was also conferred of the Order of the Rising Sun, Gold and Silver Star from the Japanese Government in 2007 for his significant contributions in promoting economic relations and scientific and technological cooperation between Japan and Singapore.


Dr Yeo was awarded the Distinguished Star Award in May 2008 by the Singapore’s Labour Movement for his contributions to the transformation of Singapore’s economic landscape and creating the conditions of Singaporeans to enjoy more and better job opportunities.


Dr Yeo is married and has a son and a daughter.

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