SINGAPORE - Property doyen Kwek Leng Beng, executive chairman of Hong Leong Group Singapore and the chairman of Millennium & Copthorne Hotels (M&C), received the Lifetime Achievement Award from Hotel Investment Conference Asia Pacific (HICAP) on Thursday (Oct 15) in Hong Kong.
Mr Kwek is the first Singaporean to clinch this award. It was last given out in 2011 to Ms Marilyn Carlson Nelson, chairman of Carlson Inc, a global hospitality and travel company which owns the Radisson hotel chain.
"The HICAP Lifetime Achievement Award honours exceptional individuals who have distinguished themselves through their accomplishments and contributions to expanding, enhancing and advancing the hotel industry in the Asia Pacific region and the world," Hong Leong said in a press release.
"Each year, the HICAP programme planning committee puts forth names of potential awardees for consideration with the award given only when the committee agrees on a deserving individual," it added. "Recipients are determined by a special committee comprising senior level industry participants."
Mr Kwek entered the hospitality business with a single hotel in Singapore in 1971. Since the humble beginnings of King's Hotel in Havelock Road, he has grown the business into a global force. Hong Leong Group currently owns and operates more than 36,000 rooms in over 150 hotels across 24 countries. Its main hospitality company, M&C, is the 39th largest hotel group, according to Hotels Magazine.
Presenting the award in Hong Kong, Mr Peter Barge, retired chairman and CEO of Jones Lang LaSalle Asia Pacific, said: "I doubt whether the hotel industry has ever had anyone at the head of a major company who has had the depth and breadth of industry experience and who understands Asia, its people, its potential and its cycles, like Kwek Leng Beng."
Mr Kwek also helms other companies in the Hong Leong Group, including developer City Developments and Hong Leong Finance.