Hong Kong billionaire Li Ka-shing, the ultimate owner of Superdrug and mobile operator Three, is to retire as chairman of CK Hutchison and hand control to his eldest son.
The 89-year-old made the announcement at a news conference after his four firms, including his main holding company Hutchison, released annual results.
He will retire as chairman and executive director following the company’s annual general meeting on May 10, bringing an end to years of speculation about his retirement.
“As I look back over all these years, I feel very grateful and blessed that I was able to create Cheung Kong, create value for shareholders and serve society,” he said, adding: “It’s my greatest honour.”
CK Hutchison was formed after he combined his property firm Cheung Kong with his conglomerate Hutchison.
He will remain as a senior adviser while his eldest son, managing director Victor Li, will become chairman, the company confirmed.
Mr Li has been Hong Kong’s wealthiest individual for two decades, with an estimated net worth of 36 billion US dollars.
This makes him number 23 on the Forbes global ranking.
Mr Li dropped out of school at age 12 and made his first fortune after he started his own factory to make plastic flowers for North American customers.
Now he controls a business empire spanning the globe, employing nearly 300,000 workers in more than 50 countries.
Its brands include Britain’s Superdrug, Canadian oil company Husky Energy and mobile operator Three.