City Developments appoints investment veteran as chief executive

PUBLISHED : Saturday, 18 January, 2014, 1:29am
UPDATED : Saturday, 18 January, 2014, 1:29am

Singapore property and hotel developer City Developments named an investment industry veteran as its first chief executive as part of a strategy to diversify its business over concerns of a sluggish home market.

Grant Kelly oversaw real estate funds in the Asia-Pacific region for private equity firm Apollo Global Management before his move to City Developments. He has worked for real investment firms including Holdfast Capital and Colony Capital Asia since early 2002.

City Development said it hoped to take advantage of Kelly's experience in finance and international real estate investment to explore new territories.

It also appointed managing director Kwek Leng Joo as deputy chairman.

The position of managing director would be abolished, with the new appointments taking effect on February 17.

"We need to be less Singapore-centric in light of limited opportunities domestically," executive chairman Kwek Leng Beng said. "These appointments will help strengthen and deepen the expertise of our management team as we shift gears and look outwards to capitalise on growth markets."

An increasing number of Singaporean-based developers have been venturing overseas as the domestic market feels a growing chill from government moves to rein in rapidly rising house prices.

Private home sales in Singapore plunged 80 per cent on the year last month to a five-year low, data shows.

City Developments drew 60 per cent of its revenue from Singapore in 2012. Hotel operations, its top income generator, contributed 46 per cent.