Slap on the wrist for Airport Authority chief over tender process violation
Rule change in middle of leasing process meant retail space went to second-highest bidder, Rolex
The Airport Authority chief is to be given a verbal warning from the authority's board after he changed the evaluation system in the middle of accepting tenders on two retail spaces, resulting in one of them going to the second-highest bidder, Rolex.
The board decided on the penalty yesterday after a two-hour meeting in which chief executive Stanley Hui Hon-chung explained his actions, according to at least two people who were at the meeting.
One source said the board accepted Hui, 62, had no ill intention but it was a definite violation of the tender process.
"The authority treasures the integrity of the tender system and regards it as a wrongdoing to alter the marking scheme in the middle of the exercise," the source said.
"Hui as the chief executive officer should accept management accountability."
The authority decided last year to open two additional outlets in the departure halls, but media reports in June accused Hui of changing the rules after the bidding process had kicked off.
The bids are evaluated according to the weight given to different criteria and it is understood that Hui added two new criteria, concerning brand diversification and turnover rates.
In the end, luxury watch brand Rolex won one shop with the second-highest bid; the other went to fashion house Chanel.
Hui had believed that looking at the brands' turnover figures instead of their highest affordable rent would generate the best profits for the airport, the source said.
The authority refused to comment on any penalty imposed on Hui, referring to it as "internal affairs", but admitted the leasing process had room for improvement. It said it had already invited two independent organisations to carry out an evaluation.
Hui's contract ends in February 2015 and is not expected to be renewed. But a board member said this was solely for age reasons and had nothing to deal with the leasing process.