Former Shui On Land CEO Freddy Lee Chun-kong is re-ascendant at tycoon Vincent Lo’s Shui On Group as SOCAM Development Ltd announced this week that Lee will take the helm of the Hong Kong-listed company as Chief Executive Officer on 1 October.
Lee, who is also being appointed as an executive director of the developer, had joined SOCAM as Deputy CEO in May of this year and moves into the top position as current CEO, CFO and executive director Frankie Wong Yuet Leung prepares to leave on 1 October, according to an announcement to the Hong Kong stock exchange.
SOCAM, was originally established as a construction materials by Vincent Lo, who later set up Shui On Land and led the development of Shanghai’s Xintiandi. The company reported turnover of HK$2.6 billion ($330 million) during the first six months of 2019 as it returned to profitability after losing HK$139 million for the full year of 2018.
Shui On Veteran Rejoins the Team
Lee came back to the Shui On Group this year after a five year hiatus, during which time he had served most recently as Senior Managing Director for Projects at fellow Shui On alum Henry Cheng’s Chongbang Group in Shanghai.
Having originally joined Shui On in 1986, Lee, who is now 57, had left the developer in 2014 as it struggled to sell off assets and restructure its finances after Lo’s attempt to recreate the Xintiandi concept across China failed to reach expectations.
Having earned a Master’s degree in construction management from the City University of Hong Kong and a Bachelor’s in Quantity Surveying from Reading University in the UK, Lee is also a member of the Hong Kong Institute of Surveyors and the RICS in the United Kingdom.
Lee is signed up for his new role at an annual compensation of HK$5.5 million, according to the SOCAM announcement, not including an annual performance bonus.
Following Wong’s departure, SOCAM’s director of corporate finance, Wilson Lam Kwok Kong, will take responsibility for the finances of the company and its subsidiaries.
Lo Family Succession Plan Moves Forward
As Lee comes on board he will assume Wong’s positions with the Finance Committee, Investment Committee and Executive Committee of SOCAM’s board.
Lee rejoins SOCAM as Shui On Group chairman Vincent Lo, now 71 is seen to be taking steps to arrange for his daughter Stephanie Lo Bo-yue to succeed him at the head of the property group. The younger Lo was appointed as an executive director with Shui On Land’s board last year and is a non-executive director with SOCAM.
Vincent Lo is the son of Hong Kong-listed real estate giant Great Eagle Holdings, which is largely held by his mother Lo To Lee-kwan, with older brother Lo Yuk Sui serving as the company’s Chairman and Managing Director.
Disposals Boost SOCAM
Lee’s job at SOCAM may be made easier by the company’s recent return to profitability, which was boosted by its disposal in May this year of a 58 percent stake in a Nanjing cement plant. That RMB 147.9 million ($20.9 million) transaction closed on 28 June of this year.
In July of this year SOCAM reached an agreement to sell 93 Wai Yip Street, its sole commercial property in Hong Kong, for HK$386.7 million. That deal, which is expected to conclude in October, came after the company had acquired the ginza-style building for HK$303.5 million in December 2018.