The balance of power at Macau concessionaire SJM Holdings appears to be shifting following news that long-time director Louis Ng will no longer serve as the company’s Chief Operating Officer.
Just two weeks after the passing of its founder, Dr Stanley Ho, SJM revealed in a Tuesday filing that Ng has been re-designated from Executive Director to Non-Executive Director at the company’s annual general meeting and has ceased to serve as COO of both SJM Holdings and subsidiary Sociedade de Jogos de Macau, S.A. – positions he has held since 2006 and 2002 respectively.
SJM’s announcement was light on detail regarding reasons for the change, although it has previously been speculated that Ng could be in the firing line following a January 2019 power play by Dr Ho’s influential daughter Pansy Ho that saw her assume a controlling interest in SJM parent STDM. Ms Ho, the Managing Director of Shun Tak Holdings and as of last week also Managing Director of MGM China, is part of a five-way alliance including The Fok Foundation that controls 53% of STDM, which in turn owns 54% of SJM Holdings.
According to Tuesday’s filing, Ng – a close associate of Co-Chairman Angela Leong and CEO Ambrose So – will serve an initial two-year term as Non-Executive Director starting 10 June 2020 in which he will be entitled to an annual director’s fee of HK$650,000, plus another HK$330,000 monthly fee as an advisor to Sociedade de Jogos de Macau, S.A.
Ng, a renowned wine aficionado and the man behind Asia’s largest fine wine collection – an estimated 17,000 bottles stored in a cellar below SJM’s Grand Lisboa – holds 118,452,922 shares in SJM Holdings representing 2.09% of issued share capital, plus rights to subscribe to another 0.56%.
In a note, JP Morgan analysts DS Kim, Derek Choi and Jeremy An said that while SJM’s organizational reshuffle “does not seem as dramatic as some market participants had expected … it could (still) be seen as an incremental step toward organizational change, pending the announcement of a COO replacement.”
SJM Chairman Daisy Ho, co-Chairmen Angela Leong and Timothy Fok, and Vice Chairman and CEO Ambrose So were all re-elected.