The deputy chairman and executive director of property giant City Developments Limited (CDL) Kwek Leng Joo died on Monday (Nov 16) at the age of 62.
CDL said in a statement that he died in his sleep after suffering a sudden heart attack.
He is the younger brother of billionaire Kwek Leng Beng, executive chairman of CDL and non-executive chairman of Hong Leong Asia. Mr Kwek's father, Kwek Hong Png, had founded Hong Leong Group in 1941. Today, the Kwek family is the second richest in Singapore according to Forbes, with a net worth of US$7.2 billion. The family's business interests comprise financial services and property development.
The late Mr Kwek was appointed director of CDL in 1980 and was the managing director of CDL from January 1995 until assuming the role of deputy chairman in February last year, where he spearheaded the company's corporate social responsibility (CSR) and sustainability initiatives.
CDL described Mr Kwek as a dedicated advocate for CSR for over two decades. He was president of the Singapore Compact for CSR, a national CSR society and country focal point for the United Nations Global Compact in Singapore. Just last month, he was awarded the President's Award for the Environment.
"His vision has established CDL’s reputation as a leading green building champion and a forerunner in CSR, raising the bar for Singapore’s real estate industry and driving change for the building sector," CDL stated on its website.
The company added in a statement that his "pioneering green efforts for over 20 years have helped put CDL and Singapore on the global map of sustainability".
Said CDL on Monday: "Mr Kwek’s leadership, invaluable contribution and presence will be greatly missed by the Board, management and employees of the CDL Group. The Board sincerely appreciates Mr Kwek’s dedicated service over the years, and together with CDL’s management and employees, extend their deepest sympathies to his family."
Mr Kwek was also an executive director of City e-Solutions, a subsidiary of CDL listed on the Stock Exchange of Hong Kong, a non-executive director of Hong Leong Finance Limited which is listed on the Singapore Exchange and also a director of Hong Leong Investment Holdings Private Limited, the holding company of CDL.
Mr Kwek was president of the Singapore Chinese Chamber Of Commerce and Industry from 1993-1997 and 2001-2005. He was the S-League's first chairman as well.
Mr Kwek was included in this year's Forbes Heroes of Philanthropy for his commitment to giving toward worthy causes, including being an advocate of youth development.
CDL said Mr Kwek pledged a personal donation of S$5m to the Nanyang Technological University to promote CSR practices among students, while another S$3m will go towards the KLJ Create4Good Fund, which will be launched on Nov 17 at the Singapore University of Technology and Design.
The avid photographer raised over S$3 million through sales of his photo works and art books for various charitable and environmental causes over the years.
His photos were featured at the inaugural presentation of the Gardens at the World Heritage Committee meeting in Phnom Penh in 2013 and Mr Kwek played a significant part in Singapore's bid to get the Botanic Gardens inscribed as a UNESCO World Heritage Site.
HE MADE FAR-REACHING CONTRIBUTIONS: MEDIACORP
Mr Kwek served on MediaCorp's board of directors between 2004 and 2007 and was a pioneer member of its Editorial Advisory Panel started in 2013. "We benefitted tremendously from his astute insights and valuable advice," MediaCorp said in a statement.
It added: "Mr Kwek will be remembered as a remarkable business leader and a devoted community leader. He made far-reaching contributions to the real estate industry as well as society where he was an outstanding volunteer and advanced important causes in the environment, the arts, heritage, youth, education and sports."
The company extended deepest condolences to the family of the late Mr Kwek.
WE HAVE LOST A DEAR FRIEND: VIVIAN BALAKRISHNAN
Foreign Affairs Minister Vivian Balakrishnan also paid tribute to Mr Kwek. "The late Mr Kwek Leng Joo was always the perfect gentleman who was so passionate about sustainability, corporate social responsibility, photography and social issues. His humility, grace and generosity was inspiring," wrote Dr Balakrishnan.
Dr Balakrishnan added that he felt fortunate to have known and worked with Mr Kwek on some of his causes.
"We have lost a dear friend. Deepest condolences to his entire family for their loss," he said.
Social and Family Development Minister Tan Chuan-Jin echoed Dr Balakrishnan's note on Facebook, writing to the late Mr Kwek: "It has been my privilege to know you and work with you. Appreciate your support for so many important causes here for our people and community."