New World Development has made a pair of boardroom appointments that doubles its proportion of female directors to 25 percent, in a move that the Hong Kong developer says is intended to promote gender equality.
In an announcement released late last week, the company said New World China CEO Echo Huang, together with the group’s senior director of human resources Jenny Chiu, have been appointed as executive directors and members of the New World Development board.
“The promotion of gender equality and the appointment of women in leadership roles are important trends for all leading enterprises worldwide,” said New World Development’s executive vice chairman and general manager Adrian Cheng, who will drop his GM title to step up to CEO on 1 May.
Empowering the Boardroom
New World Development is welcoming Huang and Chiu into the boardroom as a survey conducted by non-profit organisation Community Business, released in January this year, revealed that the average percentage of female members on the board of companies on Hong Kong’s Hang Seng Index is 13.6 percent.
Although the low double-digit percentage of women in leadership roles in the city’s top corporates illustrates the continuing patriarchy at work in Hong Kong business, the proportion of female board reps did rise this year from just 13.3 percent at the start of 2019.
“The presence of more women in the boardroom will broaden the range of perspectives available to the company, enhance the effectiveness of decision making and invigorate the quality of management,” Cheng said.
The Ivy League-educated son of New World Development’s 73-year-old chairman Henry Cheng added that the company would “continue to encourage more women to take up senior management positions, and this will benefit the company substantially in the long run”.
Huang and Chiu join two existing female directors on the 17 member board and will soon be rubbing elbows with advertising veteran and non-executive director Leonie Ki Man-fung, as well as Adrian Cheng’s younger sister Sonia Cheng, who leads the company’s hotel and project management businesses.
Climbing to the Top in Man’s World
Echo Huang was appointed to the board after serving four and a half years with New World’s China arm, first as director and deputy CEO from October 2015 to January 2020, before moving up to CEO in February this year.
Prior to that, Huang had served as a general manager for Sun Hung Kai Properties’ southern China business from 2006 to 2015, following three years as a managing director at Colliers International.
Jenny Chiu’s ascension to the board comes after over 15 years in HR roles for New World Development, having been installed in her most recent role as senior director in January this year.
Prior to joining New World Development, Chiu had served in managerial roles for telecommunications operator Wharf T&T, which is now WTT, and Hong Kong-listed conglomerate K Wah Group.