YBhg Datuk Tham Nyip Shen was born in Keningau, Sabah, Malaysia in 1958. He graduated with a BSc(Hons) in Electronic and Electrical Engineering from Manchester University in 1982.

His professional career began at Sabah Electricity Board as a Consumer Service Engineer in Sandakan and later a Transmission & Distribution Engineer where he helped to build the first 33kV transmission line in Sandakan. He also took part in the Sabah Power Masterplan.

His political career, spanning more than 23 years, was illustrious. In April 1985, at the age of 26, Datuk Tham was elected as the State Legislative Assemblyman for Elopura, Sandakan. Appointed as the Chairman of Sabah Urban Development Corporation (a subsidiary of Sabah Economics Development Corporation in the Ministry of Industrial Development) in 1986, he subsequently led the Conceptual Development of Kota Kinabalu Industrial Park. Later, as the Chairman of Sabah Fish Market Agency in the Ministry of Agriculture and Fisheries, he started the export of live commercial fish to Hong Kong and China.

Throughout his career, Datuk Tham had held several Cabinet positions in the Sabah State Government. In 1994, he was appointed the Minister of Tourism and Environmental Development and also served as the Chairman of Sabah National Parks. Duly appointed as the Deputy Chief Minister of Sabah in 1996, a position which he held for 7 years, he was also the Minister of Industrial Development and became the Chairman of Kota Kinabalu Industrial Park (KKIP). The last post he held before retiring from politics was the Minister of Resources and Information Technology.

After his retirement from active politics, Datuk was appointed as the Science Advisor for the State Government of Sabah.

His entrepreneurial spirit, leadership and vision of the country have led him to assist and spearhead various projects and developments in Sabah.  In 1996, he headed the team to build KKIP Communication Sdn Bhd which developed the first ever government-owned, Sabah State-wide intranet in Malaysia. He also initiated KKIP Power Sdn Bhd, currently providing one of the best power supplies in Sabah.

In 2006, he co-founded Fox Gloves Solution Sdn Bhd which is now known as Ecoglove Asia Pacific Sdn Bhd and ventures into the first automatic glove reprocessing technology in the world.