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Li Quits as Chief of Hong Kong Exchange

Ronald Li, embattled chairman of Hong Kong’s stock exchange, has stepped down from the post that has brought him both praise and vilification.

After the maximum two terms as the head of the British colony’s stock exchange, Li, 58, became vice chairman, making room for a new chief, lawyer Charles Sin.

Under Li’s stewardship, Hong Kong’s four rival stock exchanges merged in 1986 into a single unified market that many brokers said gave them a new and more exalted status.

But under his tenure, the exchange shut its doors for four days in October in the face of the world stock plunge, a move that many brokers said worsened the near-shattering fall once trading resumed.

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One of the lasting images of October’s stock market closure is of Li, pounding a table in anger and in full view of television cameras, threatening to sue a reporter who questioned the legality of closing the exchange.

After the stock index fell 33% on its reopening on Oct. 26, calls grew louder for reform of the markets and a change in Li’s management style.

Li also resigned as vice chairman of the futures exchange when the Hong Kong government was forced to join a group of banks in extending a $512-million (U.S.) lifeline to stave off defaults in futures trading.


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