PETALING JAYA – When Penang-born Tan Hock Eng (pix) went up to the stage at the White House, it was something his mother never thought would happen.
Tan, who now helms Broadcom Ltd, said his parents could not afford to send him to the US to pursue his higher education.
But thanks to a scholarship from Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT), Tan’s American dream became a reality.
He was given a warm welcome by US President Donald Trump in the Oval Office after the company announced that it will be relocating its headquarters from Singapore to the United States last week.
“Let me say my mother could never have imagined that one day her son would be here in the Oval Office in the White House standing beside the President of the United States,” he said after Trump invited him on stage to give a speech.
Broadcom, under the leadership of Tan, is a Fortune 500 company employing more than 15,000 workers, half of them in the US.
“Back in 1971, I was just an 18-year-old skinny kid growing up in Malaysia, but who had just received an opportunity to enrol in the best engineering school in America, in fact in the world, MIT,” he said.
“It’s really amazing even today, that this American educational institution took a chance on me, and gave me the scholarship to pursue the American dream,” he added.
Tan said he was lucky to have gone through the American education system.
He also holds an MBA from Harvard Business School and worked with Tan Sri Quek Leng Chan as managing director of Hume Industries in Malaysia from 1983 to 1988.
Broadcom Ltd, formerly known as Avago Technologies, is an American designer, developer and global supplier of products based on analog and digital semiconductor technologies within four primary markets: wired infrastructure, wireless communications, enterprise storage and industrial and others.
Tan has held senior financial positions with PepsiCo, Inc and General Motors Corporation.
In 2015, Tan who headed Singapore-based Avago Technologies Ltd, bought Broadcom Corp for US$37 billion (RM155 billion), making it the largest tech acquisition in history, dwarfing even the Whatsapp-Facebook deal worth US$22 billion.