GuocoLand CEO to step down end-August

Property veteran Chia Boon Kuah will retire as group president and chief executive of GuocoLand at the end of the month.

GuocoLand said in a statement yesterday that Mr Chia, 58, notified the board that he intends to step down on Aug 31.

"The board has acknowledged and accepted Mr Chia's notification and appreciates his stewardship and invaluable contributions during his tenure," it added.

The property company announced that Mr Choong Yee How, president and chief executive of Hong Leong Financial Group (HLFG) in Malaysia, will succeed Mr Chia via an internal group transfer.

The retirement of Mr Chia, who was formerly with Far East Organization, has surprised market watchers as he joined GuocoLand only in February last year.

There have been some senior management departures from GuocoLand recently. In April, Mr Vito Koh, 52, who had been managing director of GuocoLand China, left after about six months in the job.

That same month, Mr P. Y. Wong, who had previously been executive director at MCC Land, also left.

In its statement yesterday, the GuocoLand board said Mr Choong, 59, has over 30 years of experience in the financial industry, including 10 years with HLFG.

"As president and chief executive officer of HLFG, Mr Choong had played a central role in board stewardship and group leadership," it said. "He had consistently created sustainable prime value, built stronger franchises in core businesses, maximised the value of the subsidiaries, sought new corporate investment opportunities, expanded the base for sustainable growth and scalability, attained consistent earnings growth through organic growth, mergers and acquisitions as well as strategic partnerships."

It noted that Mr Choong had gained in-depth insight into HLFG's policies, embedded business values and culture, strategies, visions, credit appetite and enterprise risk management.

It added that this bodes well for his new role "to effectively lead in affirmative action management of business opportunities and innovative ideas to achieve sustainable growth and alignment with the Hong Leong Group vision".

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on August 22, 2015, with the headline 'GuocoLand CEO to step down end-August'. Print Edition | Subscribe