DTZ Asia chairman resigns to join HK election

CY Leung, DTZ’s chairman in Asia Pacific, has handed in his notice at the firm in order to run for chief executive of Hong Kong in next year’s election. Leung merged his Chinese property services company CY Leung & Co into DTZ in 2000 providing the London-based firm with a strong footing in the Chinese market.

CY Leung has resigned from the board of the London-listed property services firm and as chairman of its Asia Pacific business in order to run for chief executive of Hong Kong.

In an announcement today, DTZ said: “Mr Leung will leave the company to campaign for the election as the next chief executive of the Hong Kong Special Administrative Region….Appropriate arrangements for the continuing effective direction of the company's Asia Pacific region are already in place.”

Leung has stepped down from DTZ’s board with immediate effect and his resignation as Asia chairman is expected to take effect at or before the end of January. His responsibilities are to be assumed by Asia-based executives Edward Cheung, David Watt and Alan Wong.

Tim Melville-Ross, chairman of DTZ paid tribute to Leung’s time with the firm. He said: “CY is an outstanding professional of global repute and has been at the centre of DTZ's success in building the strongest real estate advisory business in China, and in the development of our wider Asia Pacific region. His advice at board level has consistently been invaluable.”

“We have always been aware of and supportive of CY’s interest to serve Hong Kong, and we wish him well in the forthcoming election.”

The Hong Kong chief executive elections are scheduled to take place on 25 March next year and Leung is to compete for the position after current incumbent Donald Tsang steps down. Tsang is currently in his second term in the role and is barred from seeking a third term by rules laid out in the Basic Law of the Hong Kong Special Administrative Region of the People's Republic of China.

The elected candidate will have achieved approving nods from a 1200 member election committee which is meant to reflect about 0.01 percent of Hong Kong’s population.

Leung’s previous company CY Leung & Co was merged with DTZ in 2000 in a move that gave the London-based firm a strong foothold in the Chinese market which it still enjoys today despite its current corporate turmoil. DTZ’s share price crashed earlier this month after it admitted its debt pile meant prospective buyers had placed a minimal valuation on the company. The firm is currently subject to a preferred takeover bid by Australian engineering, construction and maintenance company UGL Limited.

Leung said: “I have been happy to be so closely associated with the success of DTZ in Asia Pacific, where the company now holds a leading position in the real estate advisory market. In Edward Cheung, David Watt and Alan Wong, DTZ’s operations in the Asia Pacific region have an exceptional executive management team and I have every confidence that they will continue to lead the business to further success. I wish them and all my DTZ colleagues globally the very best.”