HONG KONG - Billionaire Li Ka-shing, for decades one of the world's wealthiest tycoons, has told associates he plans to step down as chairman of his global conglomerate, CK Hutchison Holdings Ltd. , by next year.
Mr. Li, who turns 89 in July, hasn't given a specific date but is likely to step down by his 90th birthday, according to people briefed by the tycoon.
One of the people said Mr. Li has already told his inner coterie of advisers, including son and Deputy Chairman Victor Li, who is earmarked as his successor.
Another person said the elder Mr. Li, known for trademark horn-rimmed glasses and an iron grip on his companies, could step down by year-end.
Often dubbed "Asia's Warren Buffett" for his investment acumen, Mr. Li enjoys celebrity status both inside and outside the company, which spans ports, telecoms, retail and property.
His departure could create uncertainty among shareholders over CK Hutchison's future without him at the helm.
Mr. Li plans to keep his office on the 70th floor of his downtown headquarters and remain a senior adviser, the people familiar with his plans said.
The businessman, who emigrated to the then British colony of Hong Kong from China as a boy, parlayed a plastic-flower manufacturer into a global empire.
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