Olivia Lum

Olivia Lum

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Olivia Lum

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Olivia Lum is the founder, group chief executive officer, and president of the Singapore-based Hyflux Group. She also heads the Research and Development function.

Early life

Lum was adopted at birth, and never knew her 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. 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.

Career

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. By January 2001,...
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