Tuesday, July 6, 2010

CapitaLand's S'pore residential business CEO resigns

This marks the 5th departure of a senior exec at the group in last 2 years

PROPERTY giant CapitaLand yesterday announced the resignation of Patricia Chia as CEO of its Singapore residential business 'to spend more time with her family'.

Her job will be taken over by Wong Heang Fine, who will concurrently continue in his present role of developing CapitaLand's business in the Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC) region.

Ms Chia's resignation marks at least the fifth departure of a senior executive from the group in the past two years.

The departure train began to take off in September 2008, with the shocking announcement of the resignation of Pua Seck Guan, who was CEO of CapitaLand Retail and chief executive of CapitaMall Trust Management Ltd. The day after his resignation was announced, CapitaMall Trust lost over $300 million of its market capitalisation. Mr Pua now heads international operations at Indian real estate giant DLF and is based in Singapore; he has also set up his own property fund management outfit, Perennial Real Estate.

Then in December 2008, CapitaLand announced that its chief corporate officer Tham Kui Seng, was leaving, 'to pursue personal interest'.

In June last year, the company announced that its chief investment officer Kee Teck Koon, was retiring. However, Mr Kee was recently named chairman of CapitaMalls Malaysia Reit Management Sdn Bhd, the manager of the soon-to-be-listed CapitaMalls Malaysia Trust.

In April this year, it was announced that CapitaLand Financial CEO Lui Chong Chee, would exit the company on June 1 to pursue his personal interests. Mr Lui, however, remains as chairman of CapitaLand's Australian unit Australand.

Messrs Kee and Tham were members of CapitaLand Group president and CEO Liew Mun Leong's 'inner kitchen cabinet' as he terms his inner circle. Market watchers note that another member in that league to have parted ways earlier was Hiew Yoon Khong. He was CEO of CapitaLand Commercial and CapitaLand Financial when he left the group in 2003. He is now CEO of Mapletree Investments, a fully owned real estate subsidiary of Temasek Holdings.

In its statement yesterday announcing Ms Chia's departure, Mr Liew said: 'Patricia has worked with me in various capacities over the years. She joined Pidemco Land in 1996 and, given her excellent execution skills, she has played a key role in establishing CapitaLand Residential Singapore as a leading developer in Singapore today. She has now requested to step down to spend more time with her family and I have acceded to her request.'

CapitaLand was formed in 2000 out of a merger between Pidemco Land and DBS Land.

Ms Chia is 55.

Her successor, Mr Wong, 52, holds degrees in mechanical engineering, and engineering production and management.

'Heang Fine, with his track record in the areas of engineering and construction globally, will bring a new perspective to the Singapore residential business as we enter the next phase of growth,' Mr Liew said.

Mr Wong joined the CapitaLand Group in 2006. He had previously been president and CEO of SembCorp Engineers and Constructors and prior to that, held the same post at Cathay Organisation Holdings.

Source: Business Times, 6 Jul 2010

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