C.Y. CHONG was born in Malaysia of Chinese parentage. Upon completion of his schooling at a Jesuit-run school in Kuala Lumpur, he set off for London. Chiew qualified as a chartered accountant. He worked in the Far East and in Europe where he held senior financial positions at a number of major international corporations. In 1991, he decided he needed a change and, almost by accident, he joined WWF - the Worldwide Fund for Nature, where he remained for twenty one years, leaving only in 2012.