The train operator's golf loving finance director is leaving after five years to pursue a new challenge as managing director and CEO of the Hongkong and Shanghai Hotels group.

He replaces Pierre Boppe who has decided to return to Switzerland for family reasons, but will remain a director of the board. Kwok will take up his new post in February 2002 after handing in his resignation yesterday (Thursday).

Commenting on the appointment, chairman Michael Kadoorie says, "Mr Kwok will offer the company a fresh perspective and new impetus at a time when we are seeking greater presence for our core hotel business in key international gateway cities. He will also bring with him substantial experience of the global financial markets and strong relationships with the international business community."

Born in Hong Kong, Kwok graduated from the London School of Economics in 1980 and has worked at BZW and Schroders before joining MTR Corp in 1996. He has steered the group through a number of successful international dollar deals as well as overseen the group's listing on the Hong Kong Stock Exchange last September.

Hong Kong and Shanghai Hotels, on the other hand, was one of the very first companies to be listed on the local bourse and was incorporated in 1866. Its hotel management arm is the Peninsula group.