High-flying banker's rich pedigree

Central Station | 14 Jan 2021

David Liao Yi-chien, who is in the running to take over from Peter Wong Tung-shun as HSBC's top executive in Asia, has a rare pedigree when it comes to taking charge and achieving firsts.

Presently the head of Global Banking, Asia-Pacific, for HSBC, he is the son of Donald Liao Poon-huai, Hong Kong's first Chinese chief secretary for administration.

And his mother certainly knew some fine moves.

The former Christine Yuen became the first Cantonese anchor of Rediffusion Television in 1957. And known as Mao Mei, she was also a ballerina and founded the Christine Liao School of Ballet. She and Donald married in 1963.

Architecture student Donald had graduated from the University of Hong Kong in 1955, and was among the first students becoming a bachelor of architecture.

He joined the Hong Kong government in 1960 and went on to be given responsibilities for designing new public housing estates such as Wah Fu, Fuk Loi, Wo Lok and Ma Tau Wai.

In 1967 he became director of housing and the first secretary for housing in 1973. His step up to chief secretary came in 1985.

And David's brother Phillip is also an architect.

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