HK$19m golden parachute not enough to entice Jack So to leave PCCW In the entirely predictable absence of its soon-to-depart chairman Richard Li Tzar-kai, PCCW's group managing director Jack So Chak-kwong has fallen under the journalistic microscope. Smiling Jack (below) could have exercised the clause in his contract that allows him to bail out with an HK$18.75 million golden parachute in the event of a change of company ownership. So Lai See's colleagues at PCCW's post-results press conference were curious to know why he was still here. Mr So acknowledged the 'capable lawyers who added that [clause] to my protection' but said he had no plans to leave. And he gave away little about his relationship with new owner Francis Leung Pak-to, whom he described as a long-time acquaintance. 'Whoever the owner is, I am sure the existing management will be happy to work with him,' he added. Supporting Mr So on the podium was chief financial officer Alex Arena, who said that despite all the company's problems there was no better place to work than PCCW. 'Plus I don't have Jack's lawyers - I have been working here for eight years and my first contract has not even finished.' hack pack buried under paper For a company that once prided itself on being in the vanguard of all things electronic, PCCW has a frightening addiction to paper. An hour into its press conference, its public relations troops were still distributing press kits to reporters. The package comprised 10 separate handouts for three companies (PCCW, PCPD and Sunday) for a grand total of 51 pages. When Lai See received his, it was like a warm pizza, fresh from the printing machine. SHKP into charity for the long haul 'When thou doest alms, let not thy left hand know what thy right hand doeth.' Our local princes of property, the three Kwok brothers (below), owners of Sun Hung Kai Properties, appear to have taken that biblical admonition to heart. They declined to be drawn into a game of charitable one-upmanship by the recent grand philanthropic gestures of Warren Buffett, George Soros and closer to home, Li Ka-shing and Lee Shau-kee. 'My company and family have done things for many, many charities,' said chairman Walter Kwok Ping-sheung when asked how the family planned to dispose of its fortune at SHKP's post-results media briefing yesterday. 'It will be our long-term commitment.' Vice-chairman Raymond Kwok Ping-luen later politely reminded reporters to keep their questions focused on the company, not on the management's generosity. Bank attracts deluge of investors A No3 typhoon signal and heavy rain couldn't prevent China Merchants Bank from attracting a large crowd of would-be investors in its IPO. The sixth-largest mainland bank reportedly received half a million applications, making it possibly the third most popular initial public offering behind those of Bank of China (954,000) and MTR Corp (602,000). It seems the real rush occurred in the final hours, as the weather deteriorated. On the eve of the closing the over-subscription rate was about 100 times but by the time the doors closed for good it had reached 265 times. Of course, all of these achievements will look very small next month when Industrial and Commercial Bank, China's largest, steps up to the plate with probably the world's largest IPO. graduate spins her way back to HKU The University of Hong Kong will soon have a new spin doctor. Lai See understands the university has lured Katherine Ma Miu-wah away from the Hong Kong Institute of Education to be its director of communications. Since Ms Ma is a graduate of the Chinese University of Hong Kong, just like her new boss, HKU vice-chancellor Tsui Lap-chee, some people are inevitably calling it a reverse takeover.