Singapore’s Founding Father, Lee Kuan Yew, Dies Aged 91

IESE mourns a friend in Asia


Lee Kuan Yew

Founder of the Republic of Singapore, Lee Kuan Yew, visited IESE in 2005 / Photo: Archive

Singapore’s “founding father,” Lee Kuan Yew died this Sunday at the age of 91. He was a key figure in Singapore’s transition to economic hub in Asia and one of the most competitive countries in the world.

Born in Singapore to parents of Chinese origin, Lee Kuan Yew was prime minister from 1959 to 1990. He led a regime known for its tight control over social issues, but liberal economic policies, and is widely credited with turning the city-state into one of the wealthiest nations in the world.

Kuan Yew visited IESE in September of 2005. He delivered the keynote at a conference entitled “Singapore’s role in the Asian boom.” He explained that the country’s economic success was, in part, thanks to the support of U.S. multinationals like Hewlett Packard, General Electric and Texas Instruments who had established manufacturing plants in Singapore, converting it into one of the world’s biggest exporters of electronic goods. And that thanks to improved education and literacy, the country’s had made the transition from noodle production in the 70s to developing biomedicine, nanotechnology, environmental technology, digital media and animation in the 21st century.

IESE would like to express sincere condolences to the family of Lee Kuan Yew and to alumni and executives living and working in Singapore.