Sim Wong Hoo, the 67-year-old founder of homegrown company Creative Technology, had served as the Chairman and CEO of the company since its establishment in 1981.
Following his recent passing, the company said that it has appointed Lee Kheng Nam, lead independent non-executive director, as acting chairman, and Ng Kai Wa, an independent non-executive director, as acting vice-chairman.
It has also appointed Song Siow Hui, president of the company’s Creative Labs business unit, as interim CEO.
Commenting on Sim’s demise, Song said that this is a “sad and sudden development”, especially since the two of them recently held extensive discussions on the future direction of the company.
He described Sim as someone who was “full of fresh vision”. Even on the night before his passing, he had a long discussion with the engineering team and was scheduled to meet with the online sales team the next day.
“The best thing to do now is to ensure the continued smooth running of the company, and also to execute and realise the vision and strategy that Mr Sim had for the company,” he added.
An outpour of online tributes
Sim’s dedication to creativity and innovation had a lasting impact on many people, and individuals from all walks of life have shared personal stories and fond memories of the entrepreneur online.
In a Facebook post, former foreign affairs minister George Yeo said that he was “deeply saddened to lose an old friend”.
“Still remember the evening he presented me and President Ong Teng Cheong with a Nomad MP3 player storing 12 songs. He was always bubbling with ideas. Never left a meeting with him without new inspirations,” wrote Mr Yeo, who was appointed an independent non-executive director at Creative in 2021.
Deputy Minister Heng Swee Keat also posted a picture of him and Sim during a demonstration of Creative’s Super X-Fi in 2019 on his Facebook page.
As a classical music lover, he said that Sim’s inventions has accompanies him over the years, including the Super X-Fi headphones in his room. He had last met Sim before the pandemic, when they discussed his then-recently launched headphones and Creative’s expansion plans.
“In the 1990s, he delighted PC users of my generation when the Sound Blaster card brought computers to life, away from the monotonous beeps that we were used to. He showed gumption when he launched the NOMAD series of portable audio players, which competed directly against the iPod and digital Walkman. His persistence in R&D brought 3D sound to headphones in the form of Super X-Fi.”
“Sim Wong Hoo made it in an era when Singapore was not known for innovation or entrepreneurship. He dedicated his life to pushing new frontiers and developing innovative products. His success served as inspiration for Singapore start-ups that followed.”
Separately, opposition politician Goh Meng Seng lauded Sim as an “icon” of his era who had inspired “at least two generations of Singaporeans”.
In a Facebook post, Goh said that he remembered the excitement when Creative Sound Blasters were first installed on computers.
“During my time, whenever we talked about successful entrepreneurship in Singapore, we would proudly mention Sim Wong Hoo,” he wrote.
Besides these politicians, one notable entrepreneur that also paid tribute to Sim is Min-Liang Tan, founder and CEO of Razer.
“He was a good friend, and I’d meet him often to discuss things like audio technology and design. Our discussions would run for hours and hours and literally I just met him two weeks ago — like all our meetings, we just talked and talked about audio, speakers, entrepreneurship and much more.”
“The technology world and Singapore [have] lost a legend,” he added.
Featured Image Credit: Heng Swee Keat via Facebook