The succession plan for one of Asia’s largest conglomerates may have become a bit clearer on Friday when Hong Kong-listed Kerry Properties named Kuok Khoon Hua as its new CEO and Vice Chairman in an announcement to the stock exchange.
Kuok Khoon Hua, the 40-year-old executive is the youngest son of Kuok Group founder Robert Kuok, and had long served as the billionaire patriarch’s valet before taking on directorships in seven Kuok Group companies since 2010.
When he steps into the top executive role with Kerry Properties on 1 June, the Kuok family scion will be charged with managing the listed developer’s portfolio of over 1 million square metres of commercial and residential properties and another 11 hotels in Greater China.
Child Number 8 Takes Top Spot
The last of Robert Kuok’s eight children and the only son of the Malaysian entrepreneur’s second wife, Ho Poh Lin, Kuok Khoon Hua takes over the CEO role from Wong Siu Kong, who also serves as the company’s chairman and will continue to head the board of directors.
As part of the board reshuffle, Kuok Khoon Hua, who has been a non-executive director of Kerry Properties since 2015, has been appointed an executive director and also joins the board’s remuneration, nomination and executive committees.
A 2003 graduate of Harvard University, Kuok Khoon Hua is already the chairman of Kerry Holdings Ltd, a privately held subsidiary of Kuok Group Ltd, as well as serving as a director of Kerry Group and Kuok (Singapore) Ltd.
In addition to his positions with the family controlled holding companies, Kuok Khoon Hua is an executive director of Hong Kong-listed Kerry Logistics Network Limited, and is slated to become chairman of the delivery firm at the time of its annual general meeting on 31 May.
The younger Kuok is also a non-independent, non-executive director of Singapore-listed agribusiness conglomerate Wilmar International Limited and an independent director of NYSE-listed shipping firm Sea Limited.
New Generation at Kerry Properties
Kuok Khoon Hua’s takeover of the top executive role at Kerry Properties represents a change in leadership at a company which has been steered by 68-year-old Wong Siu Kong since former CEO Ho Shut Kan retired in December last year at age 70.
Ho, who had been with Kerry Properties for over thirty years, had taken over the chief executive position at the end of January 2018 after serving as co-managing director from 2013 to 2015 and as the company’s president since 2015.
Robert Kuok’s oldest son Kuok Khoon Chen had served as chairman of Kerry Properties until leaving the company’s board in 2013.
On the same day that Kuok Khoon Hua’s appointment was announced, Kerry Properties stated that it had agreed to pay RMB 6.814 billion for the rights to a 98,053 square metre site in the eastern China city of Hangzhou that is approved for development of a 229,613 square metre mixed-use project.