CapitaLand’s President and CEO Liew Mun Leong is set to step down next June 2013 and could announce a successor in as soon as three months.
Looking back at his 16 years with CapitaLand – now one of Asia’ largest real estate companies – Liew said one of his proudest achievements was to to introduce REITs, which enabled the group to value its properties by yield and not just capital value.
As at end March, CapitaLand’s assets under management amounted to about S$61 billion.
Liew said: “Today we have 17 funds with AUM of about $34 billion. We are probably the second largest fund manager in real estate in Asia. I think I’m very proud of that. The last thing is that we’re very proud of growing our shopping mall business very large, very fast. Today we have 99 malls in 17 countries.
Meanwhile, Liew was quick to point out that he won’t be leaving the company for another year. That’s when he turns 67 years old.
Over the next 12 months, he will take part in the search for his successor and groom him to manage the publicly listed company.
Not only is he lobbying for an internal candidate but he is also looking for someone with a strong understanding of the Singapore and China markets.
“China is now the largest of our pie. 38 per cent it’s bigger than even Singapore, we have bigger asset allocation, we have 6,600 people in China and our China business is doing very well. And we intend to grow up to 45 per cent. At least our target so if you don’t understand China, how do you do that?
“All my CEOs with long experience can also be a possibility, I don’t pre-empt anybody I’m not a believer of hierarchy. That means somebody who is in the third or 4th position, can be lifted up, why not?,” he shared.
In the meantime, besides remaining on the board of Changi Airport Group, Liew said he won’t be dabbling in areas in conflct with real estate when he eventually retires.
“I will probably try to help some GLCs or non GLCs and it would suggest that I can help them groom talent, to make organisation change and help them go international. I take pride that we have gone international and we have 9 companies that have gone international. I may have some experience that people would like to tap onto and I will help them,” he said.
Analysts said Liew’s retirement did not come as a surprise and they do not expect this to have a negative impact on the firm.