Brian Powers, the first American to be named managing director of conglomerate Jardine Matheson Holdings Ltd., will resign and leave Hong Kong at year-end because his wife is ill.
Simon Keswick, a descendant of the founding families and still chairman, said Power’s wife, Paula, had recurring health problems and had been advised to return to the United States.
The appointment of Powers in June, 1987, when he was 37, marked the first time in its 155-year history that British-founded Jardine named an American to head its daily operations.
Powers will remain on the board but will give up executive duties and his other directorships of the international service-related company, whose diverse operations range from engineering and construction, transport financial services and property and hotels.
Nigel Rich, chief executive of Hongkong Land Co., will succeed Powers as managing director of Jardine Matheson and the group’s principal operating companies, effective Jan. 1. Rich will immediately become managing director of Hongkong Land, the largest property company in Hong Kong.