In 1964, Dr Eu was invited by the late Mr Hon Sui Sen, then Chairman of the Economic Development Board, (EDB) to grow the role of the management training unit of the EDB through the formation of a dedicated management institute.
In the early days of its economic development, Singapore was in dire need of professional managerial know-how to grow our businesses and organisations. As a businessman and banker, Dr Eu was more aware than anyone else of this urgent need. With his managerial and business experience as a banker at the Lee Wah Bank and running the family business, Eu Yan Sang, as well as active involvement as Chairman of several non-profit organisations, Dr Eu was the best candidate to guide a national management institute towards this mission.
Despite his busy commitments, Dr Eu heeded the government’s call for national service. His single-minded vision and steadfast determination to help develop by word and by example, the professionalism, integrity and public standing of managers in Singapore, led him to devote 25 years of his time and energy tirelessly nurturing and growing SIM.
Indeed, Dr Richard Eu is synonymous with the early development of professional management skills and practice in Singapore and with the success of SIM. His vision and enduring commitment was instrumental in boosting the much needed managerial skills to drive Singapore’s economic development in the sixties and seventies.
Combining his business acumen and astute sense of the changing trends and needs of the economy, Dr Eu charted a course for SIM to meet the needs of managers in the most responsive and effective way.
Dr Richard Eu addressing personnel management course participants (1965).
In 1973, through his foresight and leadership, SIM launched the foundational Diploma in Management Studies (DMS) programme to provide formal management training and an upgrading pathway for working executives.
To date, the SIM DMS programme, has over 15,000 graduates and is recognised by our partner universities for admission into their degree programmes.
Also among other significant initiatives during his chairmanship was the introduction of the Diploma in Business Studies in Mandarin to cater to the many small businesses which were mainly owned and run by non-English speaking entrepreneurs.
Students of the Mandarin Diploma in Business Studies (1982).
Dr Eu’s great foresight and strong discernment also led to the purchase of SIM’s first permanent home at Thong Teck Building. Although this was a difficult decision, as it put SIM under some financial strain for several years, he knew it was crucial in providing SIM with the much-needed facilities to take off on an exponential growth in subsequent years. He was indeed proven right as SIM later expanded to the Management House at Namly Avenue in 1988 and then to the current SIM Headquarters at Clementi Road in 1999.
Dr Eu’s championing of the development of professional management was not confined to Singapore. He facilitated the collaboration of management organisations in the Asian region in the advancement of managerial know-how and skills through developing the then nascent Asian Association of Management Organisation (AAMO).
Not only did he serve AAMO as President for several years, leading it to become a regional body of standing, he also provided counsel for many national management organisations. Dr Eu was also a distinguished senior member of the then World Management Council (CIOS), having served as its Treasurer and Vice-President. Indeed, such was his influence and contribution to management education and standards that he was hailed the “doyen of AAMO and CIOS”.
Dr Eu has always had an abiding sense of the common good. No account of his achievements would be complete without mention of his outstanding contribution to the community in the areas of education, health and public management. For these, he was honoured with the Public Service Star in the 2000 National Day Awards and conferred an Honorary Doctorate of Business by RMIT University in 1989.
In the same year, he was conferred the SIM Fellowship, the corps d’elite of corporate and business leaders who have distinguished themselves in their fields and/or contributed to SIM in very significant ways.
Dr Eu has seen SIM through many a trial and accomplishments during its growing years. In the early days, he battled all odds to establish a strong ground for companies to support formal management training and education. At the same time, he inspired a diversification of programmes at SIM in response to the changing needs of the economy and organisations. And through it all, he helped establish SIM’s standing among employees and employers.
Dr Richard Eu epitomises all the qualities and values we hope to see realised in the people we help educate and train – vision, commitment, competence, service, integrity and humanity. Honouring Dr Eu with a scholarship in his name is but one small way to recognise him for his phenomenal contribution made to management development in Singapore and the region, and to SIM.
Block C of SIM HQ campus is named after Dr Richard Eu (2015).