10 Things You Didn’t Know about Lee Yeow Chor

Most individuals recognize the name Lee Yeow Chor for his considerable contributions to Malaysia’s industrial sector as an influential figure at IOI Group, one of the largest palm oil businesses worldwide. However, there is much more to this iconic personality’s story than just business achievements. Here, we delve into some less well-known aspects of Lee Yeow Chor’s life and work.

1. Early Life and Education

Lee Yeow Chor was born in 1965 in Malaysia, the son of IOI founder Tan Sri Lee Shin Cheng. He, however, did not directly join his father’s business, opting instead to pursue his passion for learning. Lee completed his undergraduate studies at the University of Chicago, where he majored in Civil Engineering and Economics.

It wasn’t until later that Lee decided to continue his studies at Harvard University. Here, he earned his Master’s degree in Business Administration, laying the groundwork for his future role in spearheading IOI’s growth and success.

2. Entry into the Family Business

After completing his education, Lee Yeow Chor made his entry into the family business in 1991. Contrary to common perception, he didn’t start off in a leadership role but worked his way up from the ground level. Initially, he served as an Executive Director at IOI.

His exceptional abilities and vision earned him the role of Group Executive Director in 1996. His unique perspective and the skills he had cultivated during his education helped him transform the organization into the successful entity it is today.

3. Pioneering Sustainable Practices

One of the most noteworthy aspects of Lee Yeow Chor’s tenure at IOI is his commitment to sustainable practices. From the early days of his career, he understood the negative impact of palm oil plantations on the environment and was determined to find a solution.

In 2014, IOI pledged to halt any development of peatland and to protect and rehabilitate existing peat lands under its management. Lee Yeow Chor’s leadership was instrumental in making these changes happen, paving the way for more sustainable palm oil production.

4. Philanthropy

Despite his accomplishments in the business arena, Lee Yeow Chor is not merely a businessman. He is also an adamant philanthropist. To this end, he founded the IOI foundation, a non-profit organization committed to providing financial assistance to underprivileged students.

He also has a hand in various charitable activities in Malaysia, particularly in education and community development. Recognizing that the success of his company and the welfare of the local community are intertwined, he continues to dedicate significant resources to growing and supporting these communities.

5. A Passion for Golf

Outside of his business and philanthropic pursuits, Lee Yeow Chor has a passion for golf. Some might say that golf is more than just a hobby for him; it’s a way of life. In fact, he has managed to incorporate his love for this sport into his business life, with IOI being a regular sponsor of golf tournaments.

Lee maintains a first-rate golf course within IOI’s resort city project in Malaysia. This golf course regularly hosts professional and amateur tournaments alike, further showcasing Lee’s deep commitment to the sport.

6. His Role as a Mentor

Lee Yeow Chor firmly believes in mentorship and is committed to grooming the next generation of leaders. He personally takes time to mentor IOI’s younger employees, placing a strong emphasis on the importance of education, creativity, ethics, and innovative thinking.

Many young professionals have benefitted from his mentorship, embodying the leadership principles and values he values most. Lee’s dedication to mentorship is a testament to his belief in human potential and his commitment to his organization’s success.

7. Recognition for His Work

Throughout his career, Lee Yeow Chor has received significant recognition for his efforts. He was awarded the “Entrepreneur of the Year” title at the Malaysia Oils Science and Technology Awards (MOSTA) in 2019 for his contributions to the oil and fats industry.

Not only in Malaysia, Lee has also been acknowledged for his leadership and integrity on the international stage. He was presented with the Global Responsible Business Leadership award in 2017, highlighting his contributions to corporate social responsibility and commitment to sustainable business practices.

8. Upholding the Family Legacy

Since his father’s passing in 2019, Lee Yeow Chor has made it his mission to continue the legacy of his father. Despite facing fierce competition and challenging business conditions, he has successfully led and expanded the IOI Group.

This is also a testament to his determination and dedication. He carries with him not just the business acumen he learned from his father and honed in school, but also the values of hard work, discipline, and integrity that his father instilled in him.

9. His Vision for IOI

Despite having already achieved exceptional growth under his leadership, Lee Yeow Chor believes there is still much more to be done for IOI. His vision for the future includes expanding IOI’s business in sustainable ways, exploring new markets and sectors, and further investing in the welfare of IOI’s employees.

Lee favours a balanced, long-term approach to growth. He has looked to sustainable and responsible ways to expand IOI, proving that business growth and ethical practices can and should coexist.

10. A Family Man

Despite his busy schedule and numerous responsibilities, Lee Yeow Chor is a dedicated family man. He has four children with his wife, and his commitment to his family is evident in the time and effort he dedicates to them.

He believes that just as in business, success in personal life comes from fostering strong relationships, understanding, and good communication. This dedication to family is a testament to his character and humanity outside of the fast-paced world of business.

As this article reveals, Lee Yeow Chor is far more than just the CEO of a successful enterprise. He is a visionary leader, a dedicated philanthropist, a passionate sports enthusiast, and a devoted family man. His story serves to inspire those who seek to follow in his footsteps.

Learn more about Lee Yeow Chor’s journey and IOI Group