The Tourism Board hired an officer who earned about HK$2 million a year on the recommendation of its executive director without interviewing any other candidates, lawmakers heard yesterday. But former Tourism Board chairwoman Selina Chow Liang Shuk-yee denied lawmakers' claims that the hiring showed poor governance. Civic Party legislator Mandy Tam Heung-man told Legco' Public Accounts Committee the appointment had been a 'black-box operation', as no other candidates were considered for the post of strategic planning and marketing general manager. Clara Chong Ming-wah recommended Jacqueline Tong Wai-ling for the position in 2001. Ms Tong had previously worked with Ms Chong at the Standard Chartered Bank. Mrs Chow insisted that Ms Chong's referral had not been a consideration, but admitted there was no record showing details of the hiring process. Describing the board's recruitment process as 'playful', Albert Cheng King-hon said it revealed the board's poor corporate governance. 'Interviewing only one candidate for a post with an annual salary of HK$2 million - why didn't the board keep a record of this?' he said. 'Only one choice means no choice at all.' Mrs Chow dismissed the claims, saying the board had wanted to fill the post with an appropriate candidate as quickly as possible. 'She [Ms Tong] was well qualified, with expertise in the marketing field,' she said. 'The board has appreciated her working performance over the past few years.' Philip Wong Yu-hong, who chairs the committee, challenged Mrs Chow for not advertising externally for the position or searching for candidates through head-hunting firms. The former chairwoman admitted overlooking procedures, but said Ms Tong was not hired merely because she was the only candidate and recommended by Ms Chong. The hearing continues today. Meanwhile, the Tourism Board expects to get about 50 per cent more advertising and sponsorship revenue in 2008-09. In 2007-08, the board received HK$10.9 million worth of advertising and sponsorship, while the 2008-09 figure is forecast to rise to HK$16.4 million. Much of the increase would come from securing more sponsors, said Anthony Lau Chun-hon, the board's executive director.