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5 Things You NEED to Know About This M’sian Who is the Highest-Paid CEO in America



5 Things You Need Know About The Highest Paid M'sian CEO - WORLD OF BUZZ 9
Source: The Wall Street Journal

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Do y’all remember our Penang home-boy, Tan Hock Eng?

Well, to help refresh your memory, Tan is the business tycoon who made it into the White House by invitation and gave short speech next to the President of the United States, Donald Trump. Yes, that very man!

Taking it up a notch, the 66-year-old business mogul was recently named the highest-paid Chief Executive Officer (CEO) in America by The Wall Street Journal. Wow, power giler!

Tan had reportedly secured the highest rank in the list of highest-paid CEOs, which includes big names like Apple’s Tim Cook, Facebook’s Mark Zuckerberg and Tesla’s Elon Musk.

In honour of him being named the highest-paid CEO in the US, we thought of taking a glimpse into Tan’s life and his career progression. Here are FIVE things that you need to know about this fascinating entrepreneur;  


1. Tan is a Penang lang!

Referring to himself as the “skinny Penang boy”, he was born and raised on the island. Now, if you think he was born with a silver spoon, think again.

5 Things You Need Know About The Highest Paid M'sian CEO - WORLD OF BUZZ 2

Source: NST

This is because Tan once said during his White House’s speech that his parents weren’t even able to pay for college and he only came to study in America with the help of a scholarship.


2. He graduated from MIT and Harvard

Did you know that Tan graduated TWICE from MIT and once from Harvard? Fuiyoh!

In case you aren’t aware, the Massachusetts Institue of Technology (MIT) is one of the top engineering colleges in America and Harvard is an ivy-league school. You’d have to be a super-genius to get into these two schools!

“My parents could not have afforded to send me to college, much less MIT, but this great American educational institution took a chance on me, sight unseen, by giving me a scholarship to pursue the American dream,” Tan said.

Tan graduated twice from MIT with an undergraduate degree (Bachelor of Science) and a master’s degree (Master of Science) in 1975. He then went on to pursue a Master in Business Administration in the Harvard Business School.

Well, that’s an impressive education portfolio! 


3. Tan started his business ventures in Malaysia

Obviously, with an impressive educational background, Tan definitely got off to a good start in his career.

Despite being an American college graduate, Tan decided to start his career in his motherland, Malaysia, according to The Edge Markets.

He kicked off his career by working alongside Tan Sri Quek Leng Chan as the managing director of Hume Industries in Malaysia from 1983 – 1988 before moving to our neighbouring country, Singapore, to work for Pacven Investment, a venture capital firm, as a managing director.

5 Things You Need Know About The Highest Paid M'sian CEO - WORLD OF BUZZ 5

Source: Alchetron

After that, Tan made some significant career shifts to gain more experience in the corporate field, they were;

  • Vice President  – PC maker Commodore International (in 1992)
  • Senior Finance Executive – PepsiCo
  • Senior Executive – General Motors

1999 was when his career took a major shift because Tan was “hired to lead Integrated Circuit Systems”. Later, he was hired as the chairman at Integrated Device Technology. It was during this time he learnt the art of company merging, merciless cost-cutting, and “maximum operational efficiency”.

Eventually, this led him to the first big success of his career, as the owners of Avago Technologies, Silver Lake Partners, put him in charge of its firm.

Currently, Tan is the CEO, President, Director and/or Executive Director of FIVE different firms, they are;

  • CEO, President & Executive Director: Broadcom Inc. (2006 – Present)
  • CEO, President & Member of the Board of Directors: Avago Technologies Finance Pte Ltd (2006 – Present)
  • CEO, President & Director of Broadcom Limited: Broadcom Cayman L.P (2006 – Present)
  • CEO & Director: Broadcom Corporation (2016 – Present)
  • CEO, President & Director: Brocade Communications Systems, Inc (2017 – Present)

After working in the US for so long, Tan was even able to attain a US citizenship.

Wow, that’s a handful of firms! I wonder how Tan manages his time? After all, we only have 24 hours in a day!


4. He makes BIG bucks  

According to Wall Street Journal’s annual CEO salary report, last year (2017) Tan’s salary made a prominent jump by 318 per cent from his salary (RM98 million) in 2016 to USD103.2 million (RM406.9 million), according to NST.

5 Things You Need Know About The Highest Paid M'sian CEO - WORLD OF BUZZ 7

Source: SFGate

However, that isn’t his base cash salary as it’s actually only USD1.1 million (RM4.35 million) but his huge salary comes from the accumulated shares that have been awarded to him, along with performance bonuses.

  • Shares awarded to him – RM388.6 million
  • Performance bonus – RM14.6 million

Well, I’d definitely love a performance bonus like that!


5. Tan also has a big heart  

Other than making money, Tan donates a lot, too!

Having kids of his own (daughter and son) who are on the autism spectrum, Tan and his wife developed a soft spot for any effort involving autism, reported Panda Gossips.

Thus, Tan has dedicated some of his money to fund autism research in order to help scientists make life a little easier for children that are on the autism spectrum, just like his own children.

According to reports, in 2015, Tan and his wife donated USD10 million (RM39.69 million) to Cornell University to fund the Hock E. Tan and K. Lisa Yang Centre for Autism Research. They then donated USD20 million (RM79.38 million) to MIT in February 2017.

Wow! It isn’t easy to give away that much of money but they are definitely doing a lot of good by donating millions to research. 


All in all, we hope Tan’s story will inspire every young Malaysian to achieve greatness and, like Tan, to work hard to achieve success. With that said, we congratulate Tan for an extraordinary achievement and may he attain more in the future.

Godspeed, Tan!


Also read: This Inspiring 22yo Couldn’t Find A Publisher to Print Her Poems, So She Did It HERSELF!

This Determined 22-year-old Malaysian Just Self-Published Her Own Book of Poetry - WORLD OF BUZZ 4

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