Lai See

PUBLISHED : Wednesday, 28 March, 2012, 12:00am
UPDATED : Wednesday, 28 March, 2012, 12:00am

New Jardine taipan to arrive as younger Keswicks make their return

Anthony Nightingale is well into the final phase of his pre-retirement dinners as he steps down as Jardine's taipan, a position he has filled since 2006. He retires at the end of the month. His departure paves the way for the return of not just one Keswick, the family that controls Jardines, but two. Ben Keswick will succeed Nightingale as managing director of Jardine Matheson, which makes him the new taipan. He is the son of Simon Keswick, the taipan in the 1980s.

Ben's cousin Adam, the son of Chippendale 'Chips' Keswick, will be deputy managing director of Jardines. This is a position that is not filled on a regular basis. While Adam is in his 39th year and Ben in his 40th, both have spent more than 10 years in various group businesses.

Nightingale has been with the Jardine group for 43 years and has been prominent on various private and government business committees. He was also chairman of the Hong Kong General Chamber of Commerce. He leaves the group in good shape.

As Henry Keswick remarked earlier this year: 'With its extensive Asian networks and financial strength, the group is well positioned in its chosen markets.' Nightingale was responsible for Jardine Group's highly successful investments in Indonesia, such as Cycle and Carriage and PT Astra International, among others. This was a feather in his cap. It is good to see that in this age of MBAs, a man can have such an illustrious business career armed with nothing more than a classics degree from Cambridge.

Tycoons' knives are out for Leung

There's just no pleasing some people. Now that C. Y. Leung has won the chief executive election 'with a little help from his friends', as the song goes, he now faces demonisation from an unholy alliance of pan-democrats and disaffected tycoons annoyed that party time could be over for them. Some have accepted the vote, while others are still trying to undermine Leung's credibility - possibly in the hope that if they promise to shut up, this will give them something to bargain with. The pan-democrats have the most to gain from keeping Leung weak and unpopular, since the last thing they want is to be overshadowed by a popular chief executive in the run-up to the September Legco elections. We look forward to being confirmed in our prediction that Carrie Lam Cheng Yuet-ngor will be chief secretary, but don't believe the speculation Leung will appoint Chan Tze-ching, a consultant at Bank of East Asia and ex-head of Citibank in Hong Kong.

Pity the poor airport queuers

One of the joys of having a Hong Kong ID card, apart from signifying residence in this fine city, is the ease with which we holders can slip through immigration at the airport. The most we have ever had to wait is possibly two or three minutes if there is a queue for the booths, but this is rare. It is usually a painless 30- second event. Occasionally we have looked behind when entering Hong Kong and seen the vast queues of those less fortunate. Indeed, somebody who recently suffered this process said he had to wait an hour in line to get through immigration. He comes to Hong Kong three or four times a year and it's the same long wait on every occasion. Is it perhaps a deliberate ploy on behalf of immigration to give people time to reflect on the wonders of Hong Kong's award-winning airport? This is the sort of thing you expect Hong Kong to get right. Our visitor finally decided to end his torment by applying for a frequent visitor card, which gives access to the self-service immigration clearance facility available to residents. On approaching the customer service centre, he found it was closed, but applications can be processed online and take eight weeks. An immigration spokesman said that 95 per cent of entrants to Hong Kong have to wait 15 minutes, but said this may not be achievable during daily peak periods. He said there had been a number of events in Hong Kong recently which had led to an increase in arrivals. He said the department had plans to speed up the process.

Strictly business for banking chief

We regret to say that we apparently maligned Standard Chartered Bank's CEO Peter Sands in our piece last week. We suggested the briefing he gave to the press was part of his justification for being in Hong Kong for the Sevens weekend. However, we learn from a well-placed source at the tournament that nothing could be further from the truth, since he had flown out of Hong Kong on Friday evening. His main reason for being in the region was to attend a board meeting in Shanghai. His Friday night flight would have got him back to London in good time to watch Arsenal, of which he is a devotee, demolish Aston Villa.


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