Stanley Ho became the latest Hong Kong billionaire to step away from the empire he built, passing along the top roles at casino operator SJM Holdings Ltd. to his heirs. Analysts will be watching to see how smooth the transition will be.
The 96-year-old Macau casino tycoon will retire as chairman and executive director of SJM after a June 12 shareholders meeting, according to a statement Thursday to Hong Kong stock exchange. He will become chairman emeritus. Daisy Ho, his 53-year-old daughter, will take on his roles. Angela Leong, 57, Ho’s wife and SJM’s second-largest shareholder, will act as co-chair with another executive director.
Stanley Ho’s move follows the retirement of Hong Kong’s richest man, Li Ka-Shing, last month. While the 89-year-old Li stayed close to the business operations of CK Hutchison Holdings Ltd. and CK Asset Holdings Ltd. before his retirement, Stanley Ho for years hasn’t participated significantly in his businesses or attended public events.
Daisy Ho joined SJM as executive director in June last year. Leong, who successfully fended off a messy family dispute in 2011 that was mounted by family members, has been managing the casino operator for years. Stanley Ho’s son Lawrence is chief executive officer of casino operator Melco Resorts & Entertainment Ltd.
Stanley Ho built his casino business with the help of a four-decade monopoly and growing numbers of gamblers who emerged from China’s economic expansion, turning Macau into the world’s biggest gambling hub. But SJM has lost ground to peers, with Las Vegas Sands Corp.’s Macau unit and Galaxy Entertainment Group Ltd. surpassing SJM’s gaming revenue as they provided more entertainment offerings to leisure gamblers and tourists.