Chief Executive Election

Bernard Chan set to be convenor of Hong Kong chief executive-elect Carrie Lam’s cabinet

Source tells the Post Chan is set to lead Executive Council, while HSBC executive Peter Wong Tung-shun could be finance minister

PUBLISHED : Monday, 27 March, 2017, 11:26pm
UPDATED : Tuesday, 28 March, 2017, 8:29am

Chief executive-elect Carrie Lam Cheng Yuet-ngor is set to appoint her election campaign head Bernard Chan as the convenor of her cabinet, the Post has learned.

It was also understood that Peter Wong Tung-shun, deputy chairman and chief executive of HSBC, had been identified as a potential candidate for the post of financial secretary.

Lam is putting together her cabinet after being elected as the city’s leader on Sunday. A source said she had chosen Chan, who is a member of the current Executive Council, as convenor of the core policy-making body.

Chan has worked with all three chief executives since the handover – Tung Chee-hwa, Donald Tsang Yam-kuen and Leung Chun-ying. He first joined Exco in 2004 and was appointed again in 2012.

He told the Post earlier he would not consider a job as a minister, but did not rule out the possibility of staying with Exco.

Chan had a close working relationship with Lam when she was development minister from 2007 to 2012, and he took on key public posts relating to heritage conservation and sustainable development. He is seen as a potential future chief executive.

Chan said Lam had recently been too busy with the election and its aftermath to discuss any appointments.

“But I suppose she will start thinking about her team thereafter,” he said, “first with her principal officials, and Exco will come later.”

He said the job of Exco convenor would be a big commitment, and – if asked – he would have to think about how much time the job would need.

On the post of financial secretary, another source said Wong, a member of the Chinese People’s Political Consultative Conference, was among possible candidates. But his close relationship with leadership race loser John Tsang Chun-wah may raise concerns among some pro-Beijing loyalists, the source said.

According to the source, there were voices attempting to persuade Beijing to let the incumbent financial secretary, Paul Chan Mo-po, stay on in the job. The unpopular minister was recommended by outgoing chief executive Leung Chun-ying to succeed Tsang when Tsang quit to join the leadership race.

Carrie Lam must find the courage to realise her vision of a harmonious Hong Kong

With Lam pledging to heal social divides by choosing talent to serve her government on merit rather than by political affiliation, one pan-democrat, Dr Law Chi-kwong, is hotly tipped to join her cabinet. The Democratic Party member is an associate professor of social work at the University of Hong Kong.

He is known to be on good terms with Lam after they built ties over social welfare policy issues. Yesterday he declined to comment on the possibility of joining the government.

“You will know whether my name has been put forward when the appointments are announced,” he said.

However, Law would have to quit the Democratic Party if he decided to join. Its leader, Wu Chi-wai, said yesterday that no party member was allowed to join the government before there was universal suffrage.