Singapore-based multinational Creative Technology Ltd announced on Thursday that its Chairman and Chief Executive Officer Sim Wong Hoo, passed away peacefully on Jan 4, 2023 (Wednesday).

“On behalf of all staff of the company, the Board expresses its deepest sorrow over the death of Mr. Sim and conveys its condolences to his family. The Board also expresses its heartfelt gratitude for the immense contributions to the company by Mr. Sim during his tenure as the Chairman and Chief Executive Officer of the company,” the company said in a filing to the Singapore Exchange.

Mr. Sim founded Creative Technology in 1981 and has been the Chairman and Chief Executive Office since its inception.

“Mr. Sim has played an instrumental role in developing the business and has provided the company with strong leadership and vision. Under his guidance, the company became famous for the Sound Blaster sound cards and is a worldwide leader in digital entertainment products. The company also launched the multimedia revolution that drives digital entertainment with cutting-edge audio solutions which include premium wireless speakers, wireless headphones, powerful audiophile-grade amplifiers and digital audio converters, and next-generation home-theatre systems,” the company said in the statement.

Following Sim’s demise, the board has, during this transition period, appointed Lee Kheng Nam, Lead Independent Non-Executive Director, as acting Chairman, and Ng Kai Wa, Independent Non-Executive Director, as acting Vice Chairman. The Board has also appointed Song Siow Hui, President of the Company’s Creative Labs Business Unit, interim Chief Executive Officer.

“I have known and worked with Mr. Sim for over 30 years. This is a sad and sudden development and we feel a great loss especially since Mr. Sim and I recently had extensive discussions on the future direction of the Company. During those discussions, Mr. Sim was full of fresh vision. Even on the night before, 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,” said interim Chief Executive Officer Song Siow Hui.

Creative Technology is widely seen as Singapore’s first global tech start-up. Creative is the worldwide leader in digital entertainment products. Founded in Singapore in 1981, Creative started with the vision that multimedia would revolutionise the way people interact with their PCs.

Famous for its Sound Blaster sound cards and for launching the multimedia revolution, Creative is now driving digital entertainment with cutting-edge audio solutions, premium wireless speakers, high performance earphone products and portable media devices, according to its Linkedin page. It became the first Singaporean company to list shares on the Nasdaq in 1992. The company voluntarily delisted its shares from the Nasdaq stock exchange in 2007, according to earlier reports.

According to local media The Straits Times, Creative’s Sound Blaster card, launched in 1989, was a game changer in allowing PCs to generate quality sound. The product had sold 400 million units as at 2019.

The company also came into the limelight when Apple Computer and Creative have agreed to settle their legal dispute over music player patents for $100 million in 2006.

The $100 million, to be paid by Apple, grants Apple a license to a Creative patent for the hierarchical user interface used in that company’s Zen music players. After months of hinting that it would be coming after rival music player companies, Creative sued Apple in May in 2006, claiming the iPod maker was infringing on its patents, CNET reported then.

In a Facebook post, Singapore Deputy Prime Minister Heng Swee Keat said Sim “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,” he wrote in the post on Thursday.

Featured photo credit: Creative Technology

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