Olivia Lum

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
Jump to navigation Jump to search
Olivia Lum
Born Kampar, Perak, Malaysia
Alma mater National University of Singapore
Occupation Group CEO & President, Hyflux Group of Companies
Net worth US$$460 million Increase(2011)[1]
Olivia Lum
Traditional Chinese 林愛蓮
Simplified Chinese 林爱莲

Olivia Lum Ooi Lin is a Singaporean businesswoman. She is best known for being the founder, group chief executive officer, and president of the Singapore-based Hyflux Group.[3][4][5] She also heads the Research and Development function.[citation needed]

Early life[edit]

Lum was adopted at birth, and never knew her biological parents; she was brought up by a woman she called her "grandmother". When Lum was only three, her grandmother gambled away her savings; they lost the house in which they were living, and moved to a leaky shack without running water.[3] She came to Singapore at the age of 15 and enrolled at the Tiong Bahru Secondary School, where she supported herself through tutoring and sales jobs. She went on to study at Hwa Chong Junior College and graduated in 1986 with an Honours degree in chemistry from the Faculty of Science of the National University of Singapore.[4]


Lum started corporate life as a chemist with Glaxo Pharmaceutical. After working for three years at Glaxo, she left in 1989 at the age of 28 to start up Hydrochem, the precursor to Hyflux, with just SG$20,000 of capital, which she raised by selling her condominium and car.[4] She hired three employees at the start; Lum herself rode around on a motorcycle selling her company's water filters and treatment chemicals.[5] By January 2001, Hyflux had become the first water treatment company to be listed on SESDAQ, and was upgraded to the Singapore Exchange's Mainboard in April 2003.[citation needed] By 2005, she had a net worth of over US$240 million, which earned her a place as the only woman on Forbes' "Southeast Asia Rich List". As of 2007, Hyflux was worth SG$1 billion and employed more than 800 people.[4]

Lum holds several positions in public service. She is a board member of SPRING Singapore, the National University Singapore Council, and the Singapore Exchange, as well as the president of the Singapore Water Association. She is also a member of the UNESCAP Business Advisory Council and the Singapore Green Plan 2012 coordinating committee.[citation needed] Lum was a Nominated Member of Parliament in the Parliament of Singapore from 2 July 2002 to 1 January 2005.[citation needed] In 2003, she was awarded the International Management Action Award, followed by the Global Female Invent and Innovate Award the following year.[6]

On October 3, 2008, Lum resigned her position as independent non-executive director of the Singapore Exchange and relinquished her position on the audit, regulatory conflicts and remuneration committees of the Exchange, according to the Exchange's filing. She stated this was due to her heavy work commitments in line with Hyflux's rapid expansion, and that her resignation would enable her to focus more time and resources on Hyflux's growth.[7]


  1. ^ Lum, Olivia (2011-07-27), "#27 Olivia Lum - Forbes.com", Forbes, Forbes, retrieved 2012-01-22 
  2. ^ Tan, Dawn Wei (2008-10-05), "From Stutter To Charisma", The Straits Times 
  3. ^ a b Lloyd-Smith, David (2004-04-05), "The Moisture Merchant: Dealing in Liquid Assets", Time Magazine, retrieved 2008-01-15 
  4. ^ a b c d Lum, Olivia (2007-06-04), "Toilet was just a squat pan; Group CEO and president of Hyflux Olivia Lum recounts a childhood of extreme poverty", The Electric New Paper, Singapore, archived from the original on 2007-12-23, retrieved 2008-01-15 
  5. ^ a b Zhang, Lihong (2005-10-06), "新加坡"水之女皇"林爱莲 幽默随和的美丽女人/Singapore's 'Queen of Water' Olivia Lum - a humorous, amiable beauty", Xinhua News (in Chinese), archived from the original on 2007-12-04, retrieved 2008-01-15 
  6. ^ Subramaniam, Shivaranjani (2009-06-22), "Olivia Lum", Singapore Infopedia, National Library of Singapore, archived from the original on 2009-07-23, retrieved 2009-07-21 
  7. ^ Lee, Jamie (2008-09-09), "Hyflux chief to leave SGX board", Business Times, Singapore 

External links[edit]