Wednesday, May 28, 2008

The Hong Kong Tycoon And His Female Friend

Source : TODAY, Wednesday, May 28, 2008

Family feud ends as real estate boss is replaced by his mum HONG Kong real estate giant Sun Hung Kai Properties has ousted Mr Walter Kwok (picture) as its chairman, replacing him with his 79-year-old mother after a high-profile feud at the family-run firm.

“The board announces that Mr Walter Kwok has ceased to be the chairman and chief executive of the company and has been redesignated as a non-executive director,” the firm said in a regulatory filing with the Hong Kong Exchange.

Mdm Kwong Siu-hing, the widow of the company’s former chairman and co-founder, Mr Kwok Tak-seng, will become chairman, the statement said. She has over 40 years of experience in the real estate business, the company said.

Mr Walter Kwok’s brothers, Raymond and Thomas, both vicechairmen and managing directors of the firm, will jointly assume the role of chief executive.

The ouster comes a day after Mr Walter Kwok, who has been on leave from the company since February, failed in a last-ditch legal bid to try and prevent the board meeting from going ahead.

Mr Walter Kwok had accused his two brothers Raymond and Thomas of falsely asserting that he had a mental disorder, court documents showed. According to the documents, the three brothers had been in disagreement since May last year over the company’s leasing of properties, land purchases and the appointment of directors.

The rift was reportedly caused by Walter’s involvement with a female friend whom it was alleged had become increasingly influential on the married tycoon and his firm.

With a market capitalisation of about HK$328 billion ($57.2 billion), Sun Hung Kai Properties is one of the world’s largest real estate firms, making its fortune by investing in Hong Kong before more recently expanding to the mainland.— AGENCIES

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