16 October 2018
Leo Kung, 56, joined Ocean Park in 2003, and was promoted to deputy chairman in 2009. Photos:, Ocean Park
Leo Kung, 56, joined Ocean Park in 2003, and was promoted to deputy chairman in 2009. Photos:, Ocean Park

Leo Kung has big shoes to fill at Ocean Park

Confucius was his ancestor. His father ran a bank. He once challenged Hong Kong’s most famous banker in politics, but right now, he keeps the clunky title of senior executive vice-president in a friend’s bank.

Meet Leo Kung Lin-cheng, who is believed to be taking over from Allan Zeman as chairman of Ocean Park this month. Little else is known about the man, who is said to hold a handful of public service titles.

For the record, Kung, 56, joined Ocean Park in 2003, the same year as Zeman did, before being promoted to deputy chairman in 2009. That implies that he was being groomed as a potential successor early on.

A 76th generation grandson of Confucius, Kung is the son of the James Kung Ziang Mien, who sold Chekiang First Bank to Wing Hang Bank in 2003. After graduating from the University of Southern California with a degree in business administration, Kung followed in the footsteps of his father and joined the banking industry.

On the day he was conferred an honorary fellowship at Lingnan University (which he did not include in his official biography), he was described as follows:

“Leo Kung Lin-cheng, JP, is known equally as a banker and a person devoted to public service … Mr Kung’s devotion to community service is also influenced by his father’s belief that members of society should contribute whenever they can, rather than putting the burden of social well-being on the government entirely.”

Kung is currently serving on the board of the West Kowloon Cultural District Authority, where Zeman is also a member and rumored to take over as chairman. They both sit on the investment committee where Kung was made chairman two years ago. He also serves in the Housing Authority and is a committee member of the charity Helping Hand. He is also an honorary consul of the Grand Duchy of Luxembourg.

Currently he is working in Bangkok Bank as senior executive vice president, a post he has held since November 2004.

Kung appears to have lain low since 2000 when he challenged Bank of East Asia chairman David Li Kwok-po for the post of banking representative at the Legislative Council, which the latter has held for 15 years. In his attempt at LegCo, Kung only managed to secure the support of HSBC and several small banks.

He was also a member of the Hong Kong Development Forum under Hang Lung Group chairman Ronnie Chan Chi-chung.

Kung has an eclectic taste for music, ranging from pop music to jazz and classics. He once took piano lessons but found the practice a real chore so he contents himself with attending concerts and listening to his vast music record collection.

In an interview with West Kowloon Cultural District e-newsletter, he said: “As a child, when my father took me to a live performance of Swan Lake, I was unimpressed. It wasn’t until decades later when I took my eldest son to watch The Nutcracker — I absolutely loved it — as I did Swan Lake, when I saw it again later.”

Now on his 11th year at Ocean Park, Kung definitely has some big shoes to fill as he leads the park to the next phase of its development.

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EJ Insight writer

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