CapitaLand has named 43-year-old Lee Chee Koon, the current group chief investment officer, as president and group chief executive officer of Southeast Asia’s largest real estate developer, according to an announcement dated 28 August and posted to the company’s website.
The promotion is effective 15 September, months sooner than the timeline laid out when CapitaLand announced the upcoming retirement of its current CEO, Lim Ming Yan, on June 1st.
“Ming Yan has built a strong foundation for expansion. I will build upon it to bring CapitaLand forward and to achieve greater returns to shareholders,” Lee said in the announcement.
Lim’s departure was originally set for the end of this year, but an account in Singapore’s official Straits Times cited a CapitaLand spokesperson as indicating that the original timeline for the transition was established to account for a longer selection process.
“The Board has continually worked with the management team on succession planning and deepening of bench strength to build a robust talent pipeline,” Ng Kee Choe, chairman of CapitaLand said in the company statement. “After a very thorough and systematic review process, the Board is pleased to put in place leaders with the best fit and capability to chart CapitaLand’s next phase of growth.” Chee Koon, Jason and Lucas are key members of the management team and have been instrumental in developing and executing the Group’s growth strategy. Led by Chee Koon, the team’s combined competencies and experiences will benefit CapitaLand greatly.”
Lee will replace Lim Ming Yan, who started with the developer in 1996 and became president and group CEO in 2013. Lim will remain on the board through the end of the year.
Former Ascott Chief Continues Quick Climb
Before becoming chief investment officer for the group in 2013, Lee ran Ascott Limited and is credited with substantially improving the serviced apartment unit’s profits, and overseeing the management of the company as it grew to over 70,000 apartment units in more than 120 cities worldwide.
Lee joined Ascott in 2009 after working as a vice president in the office of the president when he joined the developer in 2007. He was made GCIO in 2017 in a major c-level shakeup that was undertaken to prepare the company for disruptive business models and sector transformation. Before working at the group, he was employed by the Government of Singapore, in the Ministry of Trade and Industry, the Ministry of Finance and the Monetary Authority of Singapore.
The 1999 graduate of National University of Singapore was awarded the National Order of Merit by the President of the French Republic in 2016 and the Business China Young Achiever Award by Singapore Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong in 2016. In addition to his degree in mechanical engineering from NUS, Lee received a masters degree from Imperial College London.
In his new role the engineer has responsibility for a company that set a goal of having S$100 billion ($73 billion) in assets under management by 2020, up from S$88.8 billion earlier this year.
Leow Takes Retail Portfolio, Loh to Run China
In the latest round of promotions, a few other senior appointments were made. Jason Leow became president of Asia, ex-China, and retail and will report to group CEO Lee. Leow is currently the group chief operating officer of the CapitaLand Group, and prior to holding that position he was CapitaLand Mall Asia CEO, from 2014 through 2017. From 2009 through 2014, Leow held the title of CEO of CapitaLand China, spearheading the development of eight Raffles City projects in the country. He is a Chartered Accountant of Singapore and began with the group in 1994.
In a third promotion, Lucas Loh will be made CapitaLand president of China and Investment Management. Currently chief executive officer of CapitaLand China, Loh has been with the company since 2001, coming from a private equity career at Temasek Holdings.