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NagaCorp CEO reshuffle “surprising”: Expert

The recent dismissal of Cambodian gaming group NagaCorp‘s CEO – Finance and Treasury, Chen Cherchi, is “surprising” considering the scope of his previous executive responsibility and stake-hold in the group, gaming expert Daniel Li told AGB.

NagaCorp holds a casino monopoly concession for the Cambodian capital Phnom Penh, where it runs the NagaWorld complex.

The group recently announced that Chen Cherchi, one of three sons of NagaCorp’s late founder Chen Lip Keong, would no longer serve as CEO or in any other executive position in the company or its subsidiaries effective from May 16th.

The decision came almost six months after the death of Chen Lip Keong, in December last year, which led to a reshuffle of NagaCorp’s executive positions.

In 2022, the company announced a shake-up in its leadership future cornered on the 74-year-old founder, who held the CEO and executive director role, as part of plans for an eventual handover. 

Under the re-designation, Chen Lip Keong moved to the position of Senior Chief Executive Officer, with some of his sons taking up joint CEO positions responsible for various aspects of the business. 

Eldest son Chen Yiy Fon, took the role of CEO of Operations, with Chen Cherchi becoming CEO of Finance and Treasury, and a third son, Chen Yiy Hwuan, appointed CEO of Hotels.

“The sudden termination of a senior executive holding sensitive portfolios such as Finance and Treasury operations was very surprising. It is difficult to speculate as to why the board would have reached this decision, especially after the announcement that Chen Cherchi holds 6.6 percent of NagaCorp,” Daniel Li, a technical expert for the Commercial Gambling Management Commission of Cambodia (CGMC), commented to AGB.

Upon the announcement of the dismissal, the NagaCorp Board of Directors only stated that it ‘periodically reviews the composition of and the delegated function and work tasks to the senior management’, to ‘streamline internal corporate governance and management structure’ and effectively carry out the group’s business strategies.

The Sakai Trust, a family trust established by the deceased founder of NagaCorp, currently holds directly or indirectly about 69.26 percent of the gaming group.

Filings by NagaCorp Ltd in Hong Kong reveal that Chen Yiy Fon is entitled to around 368 million shares, which represents around 8.3 percent of NagaCorp. He is currently also an Executive Director at the group, together with Philip Lee Wai Tuck. 

The remaining four sons hold around 291 million shares each, or around a 6.6 percent stake each.

Nelson Moura
Nelson Moura
Editor and reporter with 10 years of experience in Greater China, namely Taiwan and Macau, in printed and online media, with a focus on finance, gaming, politics, crime, business and social issues.



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