GuocoLand’s group chief financial officer Gregory Sim Chee Wah has stepped down after a year and a half of service to pursue personal endeavors, the Singapore-listed developer announced Wednesday, with the departure coming half a year after the developer named a new chief executive.
Now 53, Sim is leaving the top financial position at the S$1.74-billion Malaysia-based developer effective 31 December, and is being replaced by Andrew Chew Kwang Ming, the current CFO of GuocoLand’s Singapore unit. Chew takes over responsibility for the group’s financial reporting, corporate finance, taxation, risk management and other financial functions from the first of the year.
GuocoLand, which owns the Guoco Tower office building in Singapore’s Tanjong Pagar area, saw its revenues fall by nearly 10 percent during the financial year ended 30 June, even after closing on its $204 million sale of the Guoman Hotel in Shanghai during the period.
In April, GuocoLand president and chief executive Raymond Choon Yee How announced his retirement after six years at the helm, with the company’s Singapore managing director Cheng Hsing Yao taking over the top spot from 1 July.
“We sincerely thank Gregory for his steadfast and steady hand during the global pandemic, which has helped to guide the group through a challenging time,” Cheng said.
Since joining GuocoLand in August 2020, Sim oversaw the financials of the company which saw its profit attributable to equity holders surge 48 percent year on year to S$169.1 million (now $123.8 million) for the fiscal year ending June, and led a series of fundraising efforts including a set of S$300 million five-year notes issued in October.
Despite that performance, the SGX-listed developer saw the value of its stock slide 12 percent from the time of its annual meeting on 28 October.
A 20 year industry veteran, Sim served for nearly five years as CFO of SGX-listed property firm SingHaiyi Group, where he also served as the deputy chief executive officer for over a year. The Nanyang Technological University graduate also has held top finance roles at Far East Hospitality Trust in a nearly 10 year stint at the Singapore-listed hotel REIT.
The change in executive leadership comes after GuocoLand on 29 October welcomed Wee Lieng-seng, chief executive of New York-based investment advisory firm Dragonfly LLC, as an independent, non-executive director on 29 October to replace Abdullah Bin Tarmugi.
Singapore Team Takes Over
Before taking over the top finance role for the group, Chew spent 11 years with GuocoLand Singapore, where he worked under the leadership of current group chief executive Cheng Hsing Yao
During his time at with the Singapore business, Chew led the company’s successful arrangement of its first green loan worth S$730 million last year, proceeds of which were used for its Midtown Modern mixed-use development on Tan Quee Lan Street. In his new role, Chew will also be involved in the company’s digitalisation and sustainability efforts.
He also held several financial positions in other units of the GuocoLand Group, as well as four years at its Malaysian banking affiliate, Hong Leong Financial Group Berhad.
At the same time that it named new financial leadership, GuocoLand also promoted Valerie Wong as group general manager of its asset management division, a newly created role where she will oversee the firm’s real estate portfolio across Singapore, China and Malaysia.
Wong had previously served as a general manager with GuocoLand Singapore since 2014, where she led the team that leased and marketed Guoco Tower, an integrated 65-storey skyscraper in Tanjong Pagar, and was also involved the company’s Guoco Midtown mixed-use development in Singapore’s Beach Road-Ophir area.
“With the upcoming Guoco Midtown in Singapore and soon-to-be-completed Guoco Changfeng City in Shanghai, the group’s investment portfolio is set to grow,” Cheng said. “Having successfully established GuocoLand’s investment business in Singapore, Valerie will have an enlarged role looking at the Group’s investment assets and business.”
Note: an earlier version of this story contained a reference to Raymond Choon as the current CEO of GuocoLand. The article has been updated to clarify that Cheng Hsing Yao is the company’s chief executive. Mingtiandi regrets the error.