Tom chief quits to focus on private interests

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Tom Group, the media company controlled by tycoon Li Ka-shing, said on Wednesday its chief executive had quit to focus on private investments.

Hong Kong-listed Tom said Sing Wang would be replaced by Tommei Tong, chief financial officer. The company said its strategy would not change following Mr Wang’s resignation.

“Sing has made a personal decision to focus on entrepreneurial rather than corporate opportunities going forward and of course we respect that decision,” Frank Sixt, Tom’s chairman, said.

Mr Wang, who joined Tom in 2000 after working at McKinsey and Goldman Sachs, helped build the company from an internet start-up to a media company by an aggressive acquisition strategy.

But in recent years, Mr Wang has been spending more time on his own business ventures, including a coal coking plant in his native Yunaan province.

In an unusually high-profile move for a senior executive working for Mr Li, Mr Wang became the second largest shareholder of an-other listed company in Hong Kong last week by selling part of his stake in the coke-maker to Willie International, an investment firm. He also told local newspapers he wanted to build his own business empire.

The news annoyed some shareholders and may have contributed to Mr Wang’s departure. According to a person close to the company, “some people were getting quite unhappy that he is spending so much time on his own things”.

Ms Tong, who will assume her new role on Friday, said on Wednesday Mr Wang was leaving on good terms.

She said Tom would continue its acquisition strategy to become a major media company in greater China.

But she said she would also work to raise Tom’s profile among investors because the company’s value was not fully reflected in its share price. Ms Tong joined Tom in 2003 from China’s Ping An Insurance, where she was chief financial officer and chief operating officer.

Tom’s businesses include internet, outdoor advertising, publishing, sports marketing and TV.

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