Nasdaq-listed Macau VIP gaming room investor Iao Kun Group Holding Co Ltd has a new chief executive, the firm announced on Friday. The company also announced new chief operating and chief financial officers.
Vong Hon Kun has been promoted to chief executive following the resignation of Leong Siak Hung, Iao Kun said in a press release. “Mr Leong will remain as a consultant of Iao Kun until the end of 2015,” the firm added.
Iao Kun is a mid-sized investor in Macau’s government-licensed VIP gaming promoters, also commonly known as “junket operators”. It benefits from the economic activity of five VIP rooms in several casino resorts.
Last month, the firm announced it had entered into a memorandum of understanding to expand its operations to Crown Perth Casino and Crown Melbourne Casino, in Australia.
Iao Kun’s unaudited rolling chip turnover for the first quarter of 2015 was US$2.2 billion, down 54 percent in year-on-year terms, the company announced in April. Market wide in Macau, accumulated gross gaming revenue – a different measure of the industry’s performance – for the first three months of 2015 stood 42.1 percent lower than in the same period in 2014, according to official data.
Iao Kun on Friday also announced the promotion of Lam Chou In to chief operating officer and the appointment of Yip Cheuk Fai as chief financial officer. They replace respectively Raymond Li Chun Ming and George Chui Vai Hou, both of whom have resigned.
Iao Kun said all resignations – including Mr Leong’s – were “for personal and/or medical reasons and not because of any disagreements” with the firm.
The firm’s new chief executive, Mr Vong, has served as chief operating officer of Iao Kun since February 2010. According to Friday’s announcement, he was responsible in that role for the day-to-day operations and developing the VIP gaming patron market in mainland China.
According to Iao Kun, Mr Vong has spent over 20 years in the gaming industry and has served as junket agent for various VIP gaming rooms in Macau before joining Iao Kun’s chairman Lam Man Pou and his gaming promoting business in May 2006.
Iao Kun’s new chief operating officer, Mr Lam Chou In, has been with the company since February 2010 – he is also a “significant shareholder”, according to the release. In his prior position as operating officer, Mr Lam Chou In was responsible for client relationships and client development, and for the supervision of Iao Kun’s agent network. He has over 20 years of experience in the gaming industry.
Mr Yip, the firm’s new chief financial officer, was previously the chief financial officer of finance firm China Huitong Finance Holdings Ltd. Among other positions, he previously served as an auditor for Deloitte Touche Tohmatsu Ltd.
In addition, Kwok Chi Chung was appointed to Iao Kun’s board of directors as an independent director and will serve on the firm’s audit and nominating committees.
Mr Kwok, aged 60, joined the Macau Judiciary Police in 1985 and was appointed the first chief coordinator of its gaming-related crimes division in March 2003, according to Iao Kun’s release. In September 2006, he became the first head of the Macau Judiciary Police’s gaming-related and economic crimes investigation department until his retirement in August 2010.
In November 2014, Mr Kwok was appointed as an independent director at Hong Kong-listed Jimei International Entertainment Group Ltd. The company, previously known as Sinogreen Energy International Group Ltd, is chaired by one of Macau’s most experienced casino junket executives, Jack Lam Yin Lok. The firm’s original core business was in chemical products and energy conservation, but it changed to VIP gaming following last year’s takeover by Mr Jack Lam.
Mr Kwok is also currently the president of the Association of Gaming and Entertainment Promoters of Macau.
In February, the Hong Kong Stock Exchange said it was unable to proceed with a review of Iao Kun’s application to list its shares in Hong Kong by way of introduction. That is a process where shares listed in one market – in this case Nasdaq – can also be quoted in Hong Kong, without the need for new stock to be issued. “The company has elected to not continue with the application process at this time,” confirmed Iao Kun in its 2014 earnings statement.
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