Irene Chu

Ex-banker Irene Chu has dedicated her retirement to improving the world


A former banker who also worked at the UN, these days Irene Chu devotes her time to philanthropy. After graduating with an MA in the US, she worked at the United Nations. She was then recruited by Citibank in New York, working for the International Financial Institutions and International Private Banking divisions. She joined Barclays as part of its newly established International Private Banking team in New York. After moving to Hong Kong, she worked for banks Credit Suisse and Pictet, and for global executive search firm Heidrick & Struggles.

Since retiring, she has dedicated herself to a range of good causes: she is a member of the Habitat for Humanity’s Asia-Pacific Development Council; chairman of the Asia Pacific Development Council of Oxford University’s China Centre; and a board member of the World Economic Forum’s World Arts Forum. She is also involved with the Brain Health Initiative in Hong Kong, which helps improve the lives of people with dementia and Alzheimer’s disease.

(Photo: Affa Chan)

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Irene Chu played a pivotal role in getting Habitat for Humanity envelopes onto the planes of Japanese airline Peach, where it often received donations higher than the low-cost carrier’s ticket prices. 

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