The drama and sensitivity surrounding Hong Kong's troubled Link REIT took another quirky turn with the resignation of Alfred Li, chief financial officer and executive director of the Link Management Limited (The Link), the company formed in 2004 to manage the portfolio.
Citing personal reasons, Li tendered a six-month notice to resign, which has been accepted by the board and marks the end of ten months with the company. According to The Link, the search for a replacement has begun, although it did not speculate whether Li's successor would come from the governmental or corporate world.
As one would expect of the CFO of what would have been the world's biggest real estate investment trust, Li's career credentials feature a slew of senior positions and seats on various committees.
Most recently, Li was a group executive director for the Hang Lung Group during which time he also held the post chief financial officer. Before joining Hang Lung in 1990, Li was director of companies within the City Century Group for two years, general manager and financial controller of East Asia Warburg from 1982 to 1988 and assistant audit manager at PriceWaterhouseCoopers in Hong Kong from 1979.
served on the listing committee of the Hong Kong Stock Exchange from November 1997 to May 2003 and is a member of the Institute of Chartered Accountants of Scotland, a fellow member of the Hong Kong Institute of Certified Public Accountants, a member of the takeovers and mergers panel of the Securities and Futures Committee and expert member of the finance committee of the Kowloon Canton Railway Corporation (KCR).
The reception to Li's resignation has been generally muted, with those close to the roughly HK$31 billion (around $4.0 billion) deal suggesting that the impact will be minimal and that Li's standing in the REIT was not of paramount importance. According to The Link, the deal will go ahead as planned in the next six months and will not be further delayed due to the resignation of one executive.
Others were not so positive, with several investment bankers suggesting that the departure of Li, although relatively unimportant to the deal, added to the uncertainty surrounding the eventual listing of the Link REIT.