Li Ka-shing Retires: Hong Kong's Richest Man Calls It a Day

Li Ka-shing Retires: Hong Kong's Richest Man Calls It a Day

"Going forward, the Board of Directors (the "Board") has requested and I have agreed to serve as Senior Advisor of the Company and in that capacity to continue to contribute to the Group on significant matters".

Li said he'll retire as chairman and executive director of his flagship company after the company's annual general meeting on May 10, bringing an end to years of speculation about his retirement date.

CK Hutchison Holdings was formed after he combined his property firm Cheung Kong with his conglomerate Hutchison.

Li is to stay on as senior adviser to the group, while his eldest son, Victor Li (李澤鉅), who was named successor several years ago, is to take over the reins.

"I've always said I could go on a trip anytime, the company would still run the same way", he added.

Smiling occasionally as he spoke with reporters on Friday, Li said he was "happy and honoured" for the opportunities he has had, bowing as he thanked others for their support.

Mr Li spent decades making his name in Hong Kong and around the world at the helm of a prosperous conglomerate that covered sectors from container ports to telecommunications, with his business moves setting market trends.

He added: "Look at anything he sold and, plus or minus a year, its hard to say he didn't pick the top-that's a tremendous skill".

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One of Li's best-known deals in this respect was the 1999 sale of its United Kingdom telecoms unit, Orange, to Germany's Mannesmann at the height of a market boom.

He will be succeeded by his eldest son Victor Li, 53, regarded as a steady hand who is unlikely to change course, Reuters reports.

Today, the assets still held by Li through his flagship CK Hutchison Holdings Ltd include the biggest container port operator in the world, Canadian oil giant Husky, one of Europe's leading telecoms operators as well as a collection of United Kingdom businesses that saw him awarded a knighthood by the Queen in 2000.

His decisions have the potential to affect property and utility prices for the city's seven million residents as investors hang on his every word.

It is true that it would be hard to spend a day in Hong Kong without enriching the Li empire and Hong Kongers sometimes use a Cantonese pun on his name, which translates to "Li family city". His companies also control one of the two dominant supermarket chains and one of the two largest pharmacies as well as one of Hong Kong's largest cellphone companies.

Li is fondly nicknamed "superman" in Hong Kong for his deal-making prowess.

The native of Chaozhou in China's Guangdong province apocryphally rose from sweeping factory floors, to selling plastic flowers, to become a leading manufacturer, and later one of Hong Kong's largest developers and landlords.

Li did not shy away from controversial topics at Friday's press conference, taking questions on China's historic constitutional amendment earlier this month to give President Xi Jinping a mandate to rule for life.

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