Disputes between three billionaire brothers who run one of Hong Kong's largest property companies led to the sudden departure of the eldest sibling, the company's chief executive, newspapers reported Saturday.
Sun Hung Kai Properties, one of Hong Kong's most high-profile real-estate firms, announced two weeks ago that chairman and chief executive Walter Kwok would take a leave of absence for personal reasons and hand over duties to his younger brothers Raymond and Thomas, both managing directors at the company.
On Saturday, newspapers quoted family friend and fellow property tycoon Lee Shau-kee as saying that Walter Kwok decided to take leave after arguing with his brothers at a board meeting two weeks ago.
Lee, a non-executive director at Sun Hung Kai, said he participated in the meeting by teleconference, Ming Pao Daily News reported.
Lee said the three brothers "had a lot of different opinions" on investments and land-buying strategies, so their mother, Kwong Siu-hing, asked Walter Kwok to take leave, according to the report.
"She just didn't want to see the brothers' relations strained," Lee was quoted as saying by the South China Morning Post.
Sun Hung Kai didn't immediately respond to a request for comment.
The three brothers were ranked No. 31 on Forbes magazine's billionaires list in 2007 with a combined net worth of US$15 billion (euro9.9 billion).