Lai See

PUBLISHED : Saturday, 15 July, 2006, 12:00am
UPDATED : Saturday, 15 July, 2006, 12:00am

PR veteran ends roller-coaster ride as PCCW enters new era

She joined the company three months before it became PCCW and now she's leaving three months before Prince Richard hands over the reins to a new chairman.

So, what has Jenny Fung got to say about the last six years as head of group communications at one of Hong Kong's most controversial blue-chip companies?

'It has been fun and exciting - like a roller-coaster ride,' she told a gathering of 30 reporters at her farewell lunch yesterday.

The PR veteran has witnessed all the inside stories as the company went from a bang to a whimper. It also never seemed to tire of sending a different management line-up on stage for every set of half-year results, which probably explains why she had to report to at least five immediate supervisors, much more than in her 20-plus years with Philip Morris. As PCCW enters a new era, Mrs Fung has decided it is time to set up her own consulting firm, starting next week.

From our point of view, one of her major achievements is that she leaves as one of the few senior PCCW executives not to have been bound by the stupid 'one-hour lunch' employment contract.

Future scenes from telecoms soap

As Prince Richard takes his $9 billion and heads off into the sunset, leaving Francis Leung Pak-to to pick up the pieces, Lai See takes a look into the crystal ball to see how our very own telecoms soap opera turns out.

First off, the company will be renamed 'Francis Telecom' with Mr Leung inviting his former Citigroup boss Francis Yuen Tin-fan to join the happy band. Meanwhile, Prince Richard decides to take a leaf out of Bill Gates' book and donates 90 per cent of his net wealth to set up philanthropic organisations in the mainland after being blacklisted from doing business there by several securities watchdogs.

However, in the end, Hutchison Whampoa buys PCCW but not before selling off all its non-3G telecoms portfolio to its Egyptian partner.

Watch this space.

Humble payouts for all-star board

How cost-conscious is the Link Reit? We note from its first annual report that only two executives made more than seven-digits in salaries - one of them was Victor So Hing-wah, who took home $1.9 million.

The all-star board, which includes entrepreneur Allan Zeman, former Securities and Futures Commission chief Anthony Neoh and Wing Hang Bank chairman Patrick Fung Yuk-bun, earned a humble $70,000 each as director fees.

Ask not what you can do for others

Island Shangri-La hasn't earned a reputation for excellent hospitality service for nothing. Lai See has greatly improved his customer service after reading the hotel's latest 'Guide to Delight Chinese Guests'.

In one snippet of advice it says: 'Don't be surprised when asked personal questions regarding age, marital status, children, family, income, job, etc. This is done to seek common ground. You can indirectly answer the age question by giving your sign (snake, rooster, horse, etc).'

Which is why Lai See would not trade his profession for the hospitality industry. It is perhaps always easier to ask than to answer.

Bank assumes new persona

China Construction Bank, the first of the Big Four state-owned banks to get an overseas listing, now has an 'overseas' website persona.

The bank yesterday unveiled its new website, although it will also continue to use its and portals.

World Cup tips for traders

What to do now that the World Cup is over? Start accumulating small stocks, says Credit Suisse.

According to its 'David & Goliath' research yesterday, Asian small-cap stocks tended to rise in the 12-month period after the 1998 World Cup (108 per cent) and 2002 World Cup (67 per cent).

'The Asian small caps lost 19 per cent in May and June while we witnessed Italy replacing Brazil as the world champions in World Cup 06. Will they follow these interesting patterns to rise in the coming year?' Credit Suisse said.

It could liven things up in a generally slow summer.