Monday, 23 June 2014

Hard Act to Follow

Believe it or not this is Allan Zeman dressed up as a Chinese opera ghost?
We were surprised to hear to hear Allan Zeman was stepping down as chairman of Ocean Park last week and then gobsmacked today to find out he was forced out of the role.

Starting from next week he will be replaced by his deputy, banker and CPPCC member Leo Kung Lin-cheng.

"I found out about a month ago," Zeman said in a news conference. "Of course, at that time I felt kind of angry for a while because I hadn't discussed [the decision] with the government beforehand. Of course the government knows I want to stay on. No one asked me about whether I want to stay on or not."

Ouch.

He's even donned a panda costume to boost visitor numbers
But he believes he was not kept on because of a government guideline that limits key officials at statutory bodies to six-year terms. Zeman's position as chairman was renewed in 2009 and 2012 for good performance.

He held the position for 11 years and in that time has been nicknamed "mousekiller" for successfully challenging Disneyland when it came to tourist and local visitor dollars. Under Zeman's leadership, the number of visitors to Ocean Park rose from 2.95 million in 2003 to 7.73 million last year.

The park also had a deficit of HK$4 million in 2003 when SARS hit Hong Kong, and then ended with a HK$127.2 million surplus last year.

While it is understandable the Hong Kong government wants to look politically correct and have locals promoted into top positions, if what Zeman says is true, did no one stop to think to thank him for his service at least?

Or were they too terrified to break the news to him?

Because the next time the government needs someone to help them with a failing business, they can't ask Zeman again.

Would Kung be willing to dress up in a panda costume or wear ghoulish makeup for Halloween like the Canadian-born entrepreneur did?

He's a tough act to follow...

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