Blue-chip developer Hongkong Land announced Thursday that chief financial officer Simon Dixon is stepping down from his role at the end of August to return to Australia.
Dixon will be succeeded by Craig Beattie, currently chief financial officer of hotel group Mandarin Oriental, which like Hongkong Land is part of the Jardine Matheson conglomerate.
Dixon has served as Hongkong Land’s CFO since May 2016. He previously held the same position at another Jardine Matheson subsidiary, Indonesian automotive group PT Astra International, for six years.
“I would like to thank Simon for the major contribution he has made to the group over the past five years,” said Hongkong Land chief executive Robert Wong. “He has been instrumental in driving operational and business process improvements. He has also played a key role in new group investments at Hongkong Land and improving the group’s sustainability efforts. We wish Simon well in his future career.”
Beattie takes the finance helm as Hongkong Land looks to turn the page on what the group termed a “challenging” year spent wrestling with the fallout from COVID-19.
In March, the London-listed developer reported 2020 revenue of $2.1 billion, down 9.7 percent from a year earlier, while underlying profit attributable to shareholders fell 11 percent to $963 million.
Factoring in net losses due to lower property valuations, however, yielded a loss attributable to shareholders of more than $2.6 billion. Hongkong Land had scraped out a profit of $198 million in 2019.
In an interim management statement released this month, Hongkong Land said uncertainty remained about the duration of COVID-19 and the impact it would have on full-year underlying performance.
The group’s Hong Kong Central office portfolio, including landmarks like Jardine House and the Exchange Square complex, had a physical vacancy rate of 7.6 percent as of 31 March 2021, up from 6.3 percent at the end of 2020. On a committed basis, vacancy was 6.8 percent, up from 5.9 percent at the end of 2020.
Like Dixon, Beattie is a longtime hand at Jardines-affiliated companies. In addition to two separate stints at Mandarin Oriental, Beattie has performed finance-related roles for Jardine Matheson and Jardine Motors Group. He also spent three years as Hongkong Land’s finance director for South Asia.
Beattie is a 1998 graduate of Robert Gordon University in Aberdeen, where he earned a bachelor’s degree in accounting and finance. He began his career at Ernst & Young in Aberdeen, spending eight years there and at EY’s London office.
Dixon is a 1993 graduate of Flinders University in Adelaide, where he earned a bachelor’s degree in economics and accountancy. He spent the first 11 years of his career at Arthur Andersen and then PwC, where he made partner before leaving in 2006 to join Jardine Matheson as group treasurer.