British chamber executive director Christopher Hammerbeck retires after 21 years at helm in Hong Kong

PUBLISHED : Wednesday, 04 February, 2015, 12:42am
UPDATED : Wednesday, 04 February, 2015, 12:42am

British Chamber of Commerce in Hong Kong executive director Christopher Hammerbeck is to retire after more than 20 years of building business ties between the city and Britain.

He will step down at the end of April to be succeeded by former British consul general to Hong Kong, Andrew Seaton.

"The thing that I will miss most of all is contributing towards the development of the business environment in Hong Kong, which I think the British Chamber of Commerce has played its part in trying to do," Hammerbeck said.

The former British army brigadier told the South China Morning Post he would remain in the city and planned to continue his work with the business and ex-servicemen communities.

"I am very confident about Hong Kong; it has a capability of adapting to change and there are all sorts of changes ... all sorts of challenges that we're facing, both political and broader than that," he said.

Under Hammerbeck's leadership, the chamber has grown to 1,400 members from 130 in 1994 and now hosts 200 events a year, up from 32 luncheons and functions 20 years ago.

"Christopher has made a remarkable contribution over so many years to the growth, development and success of the chamber," said chairman Andrew Weir.

Hammerbeck became executive director in 1994 after a military career which saw him lead the ground offensive in the first Iraq war as commander of the 6,000-strong 4th Armoured Brigade.

Incoming executive director Seaton held the post of British consul general in Hong Kong from 2008 until 2012.

"With his track record, network and knowledge of Hong Kong, we look forward to the further success of the chamber," Weir said of Seaton.