Millionaires & Billionaires

Li Ka-shing says his elder son Victor will be his successor in principle

Sandy Li
Key Points
  • Talk of succession has been discussed previously as tycoon Li Ka-shing nears 90 years old
  • Elder son, Victor Li Tzar-kuoi, is his successor in principle,

Billionaire Li Ka-shing, for decades one of the world's wealthiest tycoons, has named his elder son, Victor Li Tzar-kuoi, as his successor in principle, a day after the Cheung Kong group clarified that he had "no concrete timetable" to retire from the global conglomerate.

Li, who turns 89 in July, said his younger son, Richard Li Tzar-kai is engaged in different business of his own, which continue growing.

Billionaire Li Ka-shing, chairman of CK Hutchison Holdings and Cheung Kong Property Holdings, adjusts his glasses during a news conference in Hong Kong, China, on Wednesday, March 22, 2017.
Justin Chin | Bloomberg | Getty Images

"Arrangement for the group's business has been well prepared. They (Victor and Richard) have their own businesses," he told the media outside his home in Clearwater Bay in Hong Kong on Wednesday morning.

"My medical check up shows that I'm in good health. I will be the group's senior advisor after I retire and I have lots of other things to do," he added.

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Shares in Li's two companies rose after the statement. CK Hutchison increased 0. 3 per cent to HK$98.8 while Cheung Kong Property edged up 0.4 per cent to HK$62.1 by Wednesday 10am.

In 2010, the elder Li laid out what he said was a plan to split his business empire between his two sons so as to ensure no conflict between them.

According to the succession plan, elder son Victor will take the helm of property group Cheung Kong (Holdings) and conglomerate Hutchison Whampoa, now named CK Hutchison and Cheung Kong Property Holdings after the completion of the group's largest restructuring.

"As for my other son [Richard], there are some things that he is very interested in," Li Ka-shing said while unveiling the plan at the group's AGM in 2010.

"He will have my full support ... now that he already owns several sizeable companies.

"The asset values of the businesses he owns will go up several times over, so he will also have a very successful career. And there will be no conflict among their businesses."

The tycoon's retirement is back in the spotlight after a report in the Wall Street Journal on Tuesday suggesting Li has told associates he plans to step down as chairman of the organisation by next year.

Li hasn't given a specific date but is likely to step down by his 90th birthday, the report said, according to people briefed by the tycoon.

One of them, the WSJ added, said Li has already told his inner coterie of advisers, including son and deputy chairman Victor Li, who is earmarked as his successor.

Another person said the elder Li, known for his trademark horn-rimmed glasses and an iron grip on his companies, could step down by year-end.

"Mr Li has from time to time talked about his retirement and his confidence in Victor to lead the company. Mr Li is in very good health," the group said in a statement in response to the WSJ report on Tuesday.

"There is no concrete timetable at this stage and Mr Li will make his official announcement when he decides to retire."