Wilbur K. Woo


Having served as Vice President, Senior Vice President, Administrative Vice President and Executive Vice President, Wilbur K. Woo is now Vice Chairman Emeritus of Cathay Bank and Cathay Bancorp, Inc.

Born in Hoyping, GuangDung, China in 1916, Wilbur came to Los Angeles at the age of five and returned to GuangZhou at twelve to learn the Chinese language and culture. After two years at Lingnan University, he returned to Los Angeles in 1940 for his junior and senior years at UCLA, during which time he taught at various Chinese language schools in the evenings, also working one summer as a dish washer in a small restaurant in Chinatown. He graduated from UCLA with a bachelor degree in Business Administration. 

During the Second World War, Wilbur served as a translator in the Office of Postal Censorship, rising to the position of Chief of the Technical Operations Division. After the war, he helped his father manage the Chungking Produce Company before joining Cathay Bank in 1962 as a Vice President.

Alongside his distinguished career in banking, Mr. Woo has cultivated an extraordinarily rich variety of business, political, cultural and charitable interests, having served at various times as: Chairman of the Board, The Chinese Times (the oldest Chinese language newspaper in the U.S.); member of R.O.C. Legislature (no party affiliation); member of the Overseas Chinese Affairs Commission (no party affiliation); charter chairman of the Asian American National Business Alliance; member of California World Trade Commission; member of the California Commission for Economic Development; founder and chairman of the California-Taiwan Trade & Investment Council; president and grand president of the Chinese American Citizens Alliance; president of the Chinese Chamber of Commerce; organizer and secretary-general of the 8th World Chinese Traders Convention; and organizer and convener of the World Chinese Bankers Convention held in Los Angeles in 1988.

In 1996, crowning his numerous awards for public service, Wilbur became the first Asian to be honored by UCLA with the Neil H. Jacoby International Award, and has been named to Los Angeles Magazine’s list of the “20 most powerful men in Los Angeles.” 

He recently endowed the annual Wilbur K. Woo Greater China Business Conference at the UCLA Anderson School of Management, stating that the gift was, "in gratitude for the training I received at my alma mater many years ago," and adding that the mission of the conference was to promote understanding of the economic ties between the Greater China region and the United States. 

Married for 67 years, Wilbur and his wife Beth have five children, six grandchildren and two great grandchildren.

2010 Wilbur K. Woo Greater China Business Conference