NagaCorp Founder and Senior CEO Chen Lip Keong passes away at 76

Hong Kong-listed NagaCorp confirmed on Monday the passing away of Tan Sri Dr Chen Lip Keong, the company’s Founder and Senior Chief Executive Officer. The news was announced on the company’s portal and the website of Hong Kong Exchanges and Clearing Ltd (HKEX).

The board of directors of NagaCorp announces with great sadness that Dr Chen, the senior CEO of the group and an executive director of the company, passed away on Dec 8 (last Friday) due to illness,” stated the board of NagaCorp, considered the largest gaming entertainment company in the Mekong Region.

“On behalf of all employees of the group, the board would like to express its deepest sorrow on the passing away of Dr Chen, and convey its deepest condolences to his family. The board would also like to express its heartfelt gratitude and appreciation to Dr Chen for his invaluable leadership, guidance and contribution to the group during his tenure of office.”

According to NagaCorp’s statement, Dr Chen’s leadership was instrumental in establishing a solid foundation for the group, leading it to achieve more than 28 years of steady growth and development. The board praised the gambling tycoon’s entrepreneurial, business and managerial experience and the role it played in the company’s success.

Concurrently, NagaCorp’s board announced changes to the company’s executive team, reports The Edge Malaysia. Chen Yiy Fon, one of the Founder’s sons, has been named the new group CEO, effective as of last Sunday.

The new boss is set to assume leadership of the company, along with the duties and responsibilities previously held by the late casino tycoon. Yiy Fon previously served as the CEO — Operations of the company since April 5, 2022.

“The board is of the view that the passing away of Dr Chen will not have any material impact on the operations of the group,” the company added.

Chinese newspaper Nanyang Siang Pau on Sunday reported that Chen had died at the age of 75 in the US. The cause of death is unknown. Based on Forbes Malaysia’s 50 richest list for 2023, Chen was the seventh wealthiest man in the country, with a net worth of RM13.06 billion ($2.8 billion) as of May 31 this year.

Chen founded NagaCorp in 1995, launching casino operations on a leased barge on the Bassac River near Phnom Penh’s Royal Palace. In 2006, NagaCorp became the first gaming initial public offering on the HKEX; and today, NagaWorld, a casino-resort complex in the Cambodian capital of Phnom Penh operated by NagaCorp, is the largest casino resort in the Indo-China region.