Li aide to join bank board

MR Stanley Kwok, Mr Li Ka-shing's chief of Canadian operations and a director of Cheung Kong, is to join the board of Canada's third largest bank.

The Bank of Montreal said Mr Kwok would help run its Asian advisory panel.

Mr Kwok's other posts include directorships of the British Columbia Hydro and Power Authority and Hutchison Whampoa-controlled Husky Oil Corp.

Banking analysts continued to speculate on the extent of Mr Li's involvement as a Bank of Montreal shareholder, a matter on which bank officials declined to comment.

The bank recently announced plans to expand its operations to China. Senior vice-president of Asian banking Neil Tait said it would focus on ''increased support for North American manufacturers and distributors already doing business in Guangdong province''.

He added: ''We have applied to open a branch in Guangzhou to support a growing manufacturing base and to help meet the expanding consumer needs of China, especially in southern China.

As the overseer of Mr Li's Canadian property company, Concord Pacific Developments, Mr Kwok will remain the chief architect responsible for developing Vancouver's former World Expo site into a huge residential, sports and entertainment hub covering nearly a fifth of the city centre.

Mr Kwok, a prominent architect in Hongkong, moved to Canada in 1968.