Ex-Foreign Affairs Minister George Yeo made a hefty HKD $12,218,000 in the 2017 financial year, according to Bloomberg.
Yeo, a former military man who rose to the rank of Brigadier-General in the Singapore Armed Forces (SAF), left the army to pursue politics in 1988. He was elected into Parliament that year and went on to serve in various ministries, including the Ministry of Finance, Ministry of Information, Communications and the Arts, Ministry of Health, Ministry of Trade and Industry and the Ministry of Foreign Affairs.
At the 2006 general election, Yeo led the PAP team in Aljunied GRC which defeated the team from the opposition Workers’ Party (WP) with 56.1% of the votes to 43.9%. This was the PAP’s narrowest margin of victory in the elections that year.
At the 2011 general election, the then-Foreign Affair Minister led the PAP team in Aljunied which was defeated by the WP team. Yeo thus lost his seat in Parliament and his ministerial appointment.
Yeo announced that he was retiring from active politics on 10 May 2011. However, on 1 June 2011, he stated on his Facebook page that he was “thinking hard” about the possibility of becoming a candidate in the 2011 Singapore presidential election. However, on 15 June, Yeo announced that he would not be standing for President.
On 5 October 2011, Yeo stepped down from the PAP’s Central Executive Committee (the party’s governing body).
The next year, in 2012, Yeo joined the private sector. In January, Yeo joined the Kuok Group as Senior Advisor, and vice chairman of its subsidiary Kerry Group (HK) Pte Ltd. Yeo reportedly met Kuok Group’s founder, Malaysian tycoon Robert Kuok, in 1989 when he was a PAP politician.
He has said previously: “Now Mr Robert Kuok, I knew since 1989. He was in Singapore and he asked a friend, he said “Introduce to some of the new ministers.” So he hosted me to a dinner at the Shangri-la hotel, and as a young man at 34, 35 years old, I was very flattered, because he was a big name. But I found him to be very deep and wise.”
Yeo has said that it was Kuok who dissuaded him from putting his name up for the 2011 presidential election: “(After 2011 GE) I spent four months at (Peking University) as a visiting scholar. During this period, Mr Robert Kuok, who heard I was thinking of the presidency, said ‘Don’t do it; it’s not for you.’”
Kuok proceeded to offer Yeo a job at his conglomerate. Yeo shared: “I would never have asked him for a job. A Singaporean friend asked him, ‘Why not offer George a job?’ and he knew me, so he did. I said, ‘What am I going to do?’ And he said, ‘You just join first, round pegs will find round holes,’ he said. We didn’t even negotiate a contract at the time!”
Just about eight months later, in August 2012, he became chairman and executive director of Kerry Logistics Network. He is also a director of Kerry Holdings, non-executive director of Wilmar International and also serves as the non-executive director of AIA Group since November 2012.
Bloomberg reported recently that 64-year-old Yeo earned HKD $12,218,000 as executive chairman of Kerry Logistics Network Limited in FY2017. His earnings reportedly comprise of an annual salary of HKD 4.2 million; a bonus of HKD 5 million or about SGD 6,852,500; and stock options:
UPDATE – An earlier version of this article reported that George Yeo earned USD $12 million. A spokesperson representing Mr Yeo has since clarified that his earnings are listed in Hong Kong Dollars.