CityDev names investment veteran as first chief executive

SINGAPORE Thu Jan 16, 2014 5:22am EST

SINGAPORE Jan 16 (Reuters) - Singapore property and hotel developer City Developments Ltd on Thursday named an investment industry veteran as its first chief executive, as part of a strategy to diversify its business over concerns of a sluggish home market.

Grant Kelly, 49, oversaw real estate funds in the Asia- Pacific for private equity firm Apollo Global Management LLC before his move to CityDev.

He has worked for real investment firms including Holdfast Capital Limited and Colony Capital Asia since early 2002.

CityDev said it hoped to take advantage of Kelly's experience in finance and international real estate investment to explore new territories.

It also appointed managing director Kwek Leng Joo as deputy chairman, the company said in a statement. The position of managing director will be abolished, CityDev said. The new appointments take effect on Feb. 17.

"We need to be less Singapore-centric in light of limited opportunities domestically," said Executive Chairman Kwek Leng Beng.

"These appointments will help strengthen and deepen the expertise of our management team as we shift gears and look outwards to capitalise on growth markets."

An increasing number of Singapore-based property developers have been venturing overseas as the domestic market feels a growing chill from government moves to rein in rapidly rising house prices.

Private home sales in Singapore in December tumbled 80 percent on the year to a five-year low, data on Wednesday showed.

CityDev drew 60 percent of its revenue from Singapore in 2012. Hotel operations, its top income generator, contributed 46 percent of turnover that year, Thomson Reuters data showed.

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