Doctor of Business Administration, honoris causa (2018)
Mrs Doreen Chan is a veteran banker, with more than 40 years’ experience in the industry. With rich experience in retail banking and a track record of successful business turnarounds, she was the first female Chief Executive Officer (CEO) in the Hong Kong banking sector.
Mrs Chan’s family is of Chiu Chow origin and came to Hong Kong in the late 1940s. This was a traumatic time and there was a sense of displacement. As a result, when she entered the workforce, the young Mrs Chan felt a strong motivation to bring security and comfort to her parents.
In spite of her youthful ambition to enter the entertainment industry, in 1972 Mrs Chan left school to join Standard Chartered Bank in an entry-level position, working as a “greeter” in a housing estate branch. It was a humble start to what would become a glittering career. Those early years were difficult times for Mrs Chan and to this day she identifies strongly with those young people who are struggling to find their way in the world.
Mrs Chan’s conversion to the Christian faith proved to be transformational, providing a new perspective and value system, where “success” is being a faithful servant, making best use of one’s given talents. Hard work and dutiful service were rewarded, and by the age of 26, Mrs Chan had risen to the rank of a senior officer employed under covenanted agreement with Head Office in London.
Standard Chartered was at that time going through considerable change and Mrs Chan was selected to join the team responsible for developing retail banking under an industry expert from America, eventually herself being promoted to head the retail banking business in Hong Kong. In this role she experienced a doubling of profits in three years, and acquired key skills in people and organisational management, building a business, and managing and leading change.
Following a short career break, in 1998 Mrs Chan joined the then Ka Wah Bank Limited to assist in its repositioning and to take charge of the retail business. It was the immediate aftermath of the Asian financial crisis and the Bank was facing a challenging time. Mrs Chan rebuilt what was a virtually inactive retail business, developing it as a competitive force in the market. The Bank was renamed as CITIC Ka Wah Bank, and changes paved the way for the acquisition of the Hongkong Chinese Bank in 2002, when she was appointed President and CEO. A key point of differentiation for the Bank was the pursuit of international best practice, embracing governance, management and the nurturing of the talent base, with the Bank renamed as CITIC Bank International, ushering in a new era for the development of CITIC’s commercial banking business. Having provided the basis for success, Mrs Chan retired from the banking industry in 2013.
In addition to her successful banking career, Mrs Chan has an impressive record of public and community service. She served as Chairman of the Board of the China Graduate School of Theology, and as a staff member there in various capacities. She also served as Board member and Treasurer of Breakthrough Limited, and as a member of the Banking Advisory Committee of the HKSAR Government, the General Committee of the Federation of Hong Kong Industries, and the Advisory Board of the Hong Kong Export Credit Insurance Corporation. She is currently a Board member of Haven of Hope Christian Service, and remains active in business as an Independent Non-Executive Director of Dah Chong Hong Holdings Limited and chair of its Remuneration Committee.
During her 11 years of service to Hong Kong Baptist University (HKBU), Mrs Chan has dedicated herself to the development of the University. She was Treasurer to Council, to Court and to the HKBU Foundation. She fostered the establishment of the Investment Sub-committee, promoting prudent financial management, and initiated a scenario analysis of the funding position of the University to underpin the Institutional Strategic Plan 2018-2028. Mrs Chan initiated the restructuring of the Superannuation Fund Supervisory Board to strengthen supervision by industry experts. She also led the strategic review of Beijing Normal University-HKBU United International College, and rendered wise counsel on the governance of the University in response to the UGC Report on “Governance in UGC-funded Higher Education Institutions in Hong Kong”.
Mrs Doreen Chan has lived a life of faithful service. We are privileged to have had the benefit of her wisdom and experience at HKBU.