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Auyeung to take over MTRC hot seat

Top News | Charlotte Luo Feb 12, 2019
The chairman of the Lingnan University Council, Rex Auyeung Pak-kuen, will replace Federick Ma Si-hang as chairman of the MTR Corporation.

Ma's impending departure was announced in November.

He had turned down an offer from Chief Executive Carrie Lam Cheng Yuet-ngor to extend his three-year contract, only agreeing to remain in his job for about six months until June.

In early August, Ma said he had been asked by Lam to stay on in the middle of a major scandal in the construction of the Sha Tin-Central link that led to the resignations of several top executives.

Chief executive Lincoln Leong Kwok-kuen, 58, who renewed his contract for two years last February, would leave once his successor was appointed.

Projects director Philco Wong Nai-keung resigned with immediate effect, while three other general managers of the project - Lee Tsz-man, Jason Wong Chi-ching and Aidan Rooney - also left.

Two weeks ago the commission of inquiry concluded its hearings into alleged shoddy work in the Hung Hom Station's diaphragm walls and connecting concrete slabs.

Auyeung, who is in his 60s, retired in June in 2017 as chairman of Principal Asia at Principal International Group after more than 24 years. He became Lingnan University's Council chairman in October 2014.

His parents came to Hong Kong from mainland China and raised seven children, of which Auyeung is the youngest.

He studied at Ying Wa College in Hong Kong before going to Canada to continue high school education. He graduated from the University of Waterloo with a bachelor of environmental studies in urban and town planning.

He started at Aetna Canada as a summer intern and then a management trainee. After working at the company in Toronto for 16 years, he decided to move back to Hong Kong in 1993.

A short stint at American International Assurance followed, before he joined the Principal Financial Group in 1994 with the mission of executing the group's expansion plan in Asia.

He worked by himself in a rented office in Central District. It took two years before the company received its formal licence to operate in Hong Kong.

He has since led Principal International's operations in Asia out of Hong Kong. The company has more than 2,000 employees working in mainland China, India, Indonesia, Japan, Malaysia and Singapore.

During his tenure at the company, its assets under management in the region had grown to US$120 billion by the end of 2016.

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April 2019