The government and Hong Kong Disneyland have appointed two independent non-executive directors to their joint-venture company - seven years after the government told legislators they would do so.
Cathay Pacific chief executive Philip Chen Nan-lok, and Payson Cha Mou-sing, deputy chairman of HKR International, the developer of the Discovery Bay residential enclave next to Disneyland, were appointed Tuesday to serve two- year terms on the board of Hong Kong International Theme Parks. Both men are former chairmen of Disney's rival, Ocean Park.
They join the five government-appointed directors and four from Walt Disney on HKITP.
When the then financial secretary Donald Tsang Yam-kuen announced the establishment of the joint venture in March 1999, lawmakers and other critics raised concerns over the corporate governance of the project and the favorable terms given to Disney in the deal - the government put up 80 percent of the cost of the project in return for just 57 percent ownership.
In a paper presented to the Legislative Council Finance Committee on November 26 that year, the government told lawmakers "as the largest shareholder in Hong Kong Disneyland, we need to safeguard the government's interest in this project" and that "two non-executive independent directors mutually agreed by both government and Walt Disney will also be appointed to the board."
Democratic party lawmaker Fred Li Wah-ming said there was no doubt about the capabilities of either of the two new directors. "But both of them are really busy businessmen. I just worry if they have the time and vitality to monitor the operations and financial matters of Disney," Li said.