Lawrence Chiang, the chief operating officer of retail and property group Metro Holdings, has been appointed the acting group chief executive following the death of managing director Jopie Ong.
"Mr Chiang has been with the Metro group since 1989 and has extensive knowledge of its operations. He has been the group general manager since 2007 before being redesignated as the group chief operating officer in 2013," Metro said in a release to the Singapore Exchange on Wednesday night.
Mr Ong, who was 75, died on Tuesday. He had overseen the retail group for more than four decades.
The son of Metro founder Ong Tjoe Kim, Mr Ong joined Metro in 1964, and was appointed to the board in September 1973. He was also a member of the company's nominating and investment committees.
"Mr Ong passed away peacefully on Feb 2," said Metro. "The board and management would like to extend their deepest condolences to the family of the late Mr Jopie Ong."
Mr Ong was described as instrumental in the growth and transformation of the group from a retail department store business into a property development and investment group. It was also under his guidance that Metro was listed on the Singapore Exchange (SGX) in 1973, and that the group entered China in the early 1990s.
"Mr Ong's strong leadership made a significant difference to the Metro group on the charting of its strategic directions and business, and the Metro group is deeply grateful to Mr Ong for his invaluable contributions," Metro said.
The appointment, which is effective immediately, puts Mr Chiang, 63, as overall in charge of the operations of the Metro group of companies.
As COO, Mr Chiang had a key role in the group's investment strategy and business development. He initiated and oversaw the completion of the group's property development pro-jects and joint ventures in Singapore, Malaysia and China. Assuming responsibility for the group's property and retail divisions, he was also directly involved in the management of the group's property division.
Shares in Metro were halted from trading on Wednesday, pending the announcement.
This article was first published on February 4, 2016.
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