Cecil Chao paves way for Gigi to take over Cheuk Nang despite lesbian wedding row

Daughter to be Cheuk Nang vice-chairwoman, despite wedding rowYvonne Liu

Cecil Chao, the 78-year-old chairman of Cheuk Nang, said yesterday that he would propose promoting his daughter to vice-chairwoman of the board next month. He is also planning to set up a trust fund and use part of the money for charity.

The family came under the spotlight in 2012 after Cecil Chao offered HK$500 million to any man who succeeded in marrying Gigi Chao after learning she had wed her girlfriend, Sean Eav.

“I hoped my dad would not step down so early. He enjoys work. The company is his largest achievement. It also gives him the greatest pleasure,” Gigi Chao, an executive director of the company, said.

Her focus for this year would be the tender of Cheuk Nang Plaza in Wan Chai and the sale of units in Opus, a residential project in Shenzhen.

The company has appointed agency JLL to handle the tender of its headquarters at Cheuk Nang Plaza. The tender will close on September 23.

The 32-storey office building at 250 Hennessey Road has a total gross floor area of 55,622 square feet.

The indicative price of the building is HK$880 million, or HK$15,821 per sq ft.

The company may lease back some office space after the building is sold. If the buyer decides to convert it into a retail or hotel development, the company will look for a new headquarters.

“We are still unable to obtain the pre-sale consent from the government for One Kowloon Peak [a residential project in Yau Kam Tau] after seven years. So we decided to release our office building for tender to see whether we could generate a high profit from the disposal. The demand for office and commercial properties has been strong recently,” Gigi Chao said.

She said the company planned to launch One Kowloon Peak, two residential projects in Malaysia and another in Hangzhou next year.

“Our development focus has shifted from Hong Kong to the mainland already. Both of our projects on the mainland have a total gross floor area of more than one million sq ft and are located in strategic locations,” she added.

Cecil Chao estimated the four projects in Hong Kong, Malaysia and the mainland were worth a total of HK$10 billion.