• Thu
  • Nov 20, 2014
  • Updated: 3:01pm
NewsHong Kong
TOURISM

Allan Zeman says he’s being forced out of top job at Ocean Park

Ocean Park chief wants to stay, and sees official term limits as the issue

PUBLISHED : Monday, 23 June, 2014, 6:26pm
UPDATED : Tuesday, 24 June, 2014, 8:37am
 

Entrepreneur Allan Zeman revealed yesterday it was the government that was forcing him out as Ocean Park chairman.

"I found out about a month ago," the flamboyant entrepreneur said. "Of course, at that time I felt kind of angry for a while because I hadn't discussed it with the government beforehand."

Zeman, who made his name establishing the Lan Kwai Fong nightlife district, said he was sure the government knew he wanted to continue in the post he had occupied for 11 years.

He will be succeeded by his deputy, Leo Kung Lin-cheng, on Monday. Kung, deputy chairman since 2003, is a banker and serves on several public bodies.

During Zeman's chairmanship, the number of visitors rose to 7.73 million last year from 2.95 million in 2003, while a HK$4 million deficit in 2003, the year Sars struck, was turned into a HK$127.2 million surplus.

He believed he lost the job due to a government guideline limiting holders of positions on statutory bodies to six-year terms.

"But you know, when you have a winning combination in business, you don't break the combination," he said.

Zeman does not know who made the decision that he must leave. Asked if it had anything to do with his decision to back Henry Tang Ying-yen in the chief executive election, he replied: "I don't really think it was a political decision. Ocean Park is not political and I would hope that it is not a political decision."

The government has suggested Zeman become an adviser to the theme park, a role Zeman said he was happy to take up. But this will be subject to a decision by the park's board.

Commenting on reports that he may be named chairman of the board of the West Kowloon Cultural District Authority, Zeman said he had not been approached, but if was he would need to think about it because it was a challenging role.

He said he had worked with Kung for years and although Kung had a different management style, Zeman said they had worked well together.

Last week, Secretary for Commerce and Economic Development Greg So Kam-leung did not answer directly when asked why Zeman was leaving, saying only that there was a suitable replacement. So's office had nothing to add yesterday.

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blue
“But you know, when you have a winning combination in business, you don’t break the combination,” Zeman added.

Exactly right. This is how idiotic the HK government can be. Why have an idiotic policy of having only 6 year term limits for statutory bodies that are engaged in commercial activity?

This CPPCC nobody that will succeed Zeman has neither the skill nor personality to run a business like Ocean Park. He shouldn't be replacing Zeman when Zeman was proven to be HIGHLY competent at running the park!

This morons in government should realize that if something isn't broken, they shouldn't worry about fixing it. Nice work meddling in things you have zero clue about you arrogant pieces of garbage.
leormac
Zeman deserves three cheers for his effort in preserving a HK landmark that has played a part in so many lives.....respect is what the government owes him. Cheers mate for your efforts...the beauty about it still going, is that now i get to share the memories with my children and guess what....... my son chooses OP over Disney and he is 4.
teresaleema
They don't bother about your performance & reality. It's a pity that you are not "Leung Fan "!!
ann.wei.121
You are being diplomatic Mr. Zeman, i am sure you know what politics is all about, and the so-called Hong Kong Camp............... Leung Chun Ying's style !
mrheh
There goes Ocean Park's future profits!! Once again, government in it's infinite wisdom (stupidity) goes & tampers with something which is in perfectly good working order.
rpasea
Ethnic cleansing?
Dai Muff
Maybe this government WANTS more money for Disney and less for Ocean Park.
In our brave new world, Zeman has one flaw. Despite what his passport says, he's not Chinese enough.
Hollander323
Since Mr Allen Zeman has spoken out, the government now owes the public an explanation on why the replacement, and why and how the incoming chairman would do a better job than his predecessor?
andreaswagner
Another step in the direction of Hong Kong's general deterioration into another Chinese **** hole. Now that Zemans cuff link will run the show, we can safely give OP a miss.
r6b
perhaps not ethnic, but certainly neurotic government heads eliminating successful leaders, who's performance may be benchmarked against their own.
Stop and think for a minute, how many of HK's top officials are respected for their good judgement and accomplishments of benefit to the SAR.

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