The Board of the West Kowloon Cultural District Authority (WKCDA/the Authority) announced today (21 July) the appointment of Mr Duncan Pescod as its next Chief Executive Officer (CEO), after obtaining the prior approval of the Chief Executive of the HKSAR as required under the West Kowloon Cultural District Authority Ordinance. Mr Pescod will assume duty on 3 August 2015.
Mr Pescod, the current Chief Operating Officer (COO) of the WKCDA, will succeed Mr Michael Lynch, who tendered his resignation on 4 February 2015 after four years as CEO. Following a global search, Mr Pescod proved himself to be the best candidate for the CEO position as he has already made a significant contribution to the WKCD project since he assumed the COO position in October 2014. He has brought a huge amount of executive and management experience as well as relevant local knowledge to the Authority, gained through his 32 years of government service in Hong Kong.
Announcing the appointment, Mrs Carrie Lam, Chairman of the Board of WKCDA, said, “This appointment means there will be no gap between the outgoing and new CEOs, and ensures that the West Kowloon Cultural District project will continue to progress at full momentum at this important time. Despite some financial challenges faced by the project, I am sure with Mr Pescod’s proven credentials, the Authority will deliver the project in a cost effective manner, and expedite the completion of some planned facilities for public enjoyment.”
Mrs Lam added, “I would also like to take the opportunity to extend my heartfelt gratitude again to Mr Lynch for his leadership in the past four years in taking forward the project. During his tenure, he has made significant contribution to the project both in hardware and software development. Mr Lynch has also made tremendous contributions to making WKCD a well-known entity in the international art arena. This will no doubt be conducive to building WKCD into a world class cultural destination. I wish Mr Lynch a happy retirement.”
With the artistic programming underway, the priority of the Authority in the next few years remains the delivery of the arts and cultural facilities. The Authority currently has three facilities under construction (M+, Xiqu Centre and Arts Pavilion) with another three (the Park, Freespace and Lyric Theatre Complex) due to start shortly or in the design stage. The imminent tasks of the new CEO are to spearhead the timely completion of infrastructural development, commercial planning, fundraising initiatives and other operational matters. The CEO will also oversee the artistic development of the project, supported by the two strong artistic teams on visual and performing arts, and will be personally involved in engaging the stakeholders in the local arts sector.
Mr Pescod said of his appointment, “I am honoured and excited to take on this important role. The public has high expectations for the cultural district and I have seen first-hand the dedicated and professional team in the Authority working on the project. I am confident that what we are building in terms of venues, creativity, learning and opportunities will enrich Hong Kong immeasurably.”
Outgoing CEO Mr Michael Lynch said, “The next few years will no doubt see many challenges for the project, but having worked alongside Duncan for the past nine months, it is clear that his local knowledge and proven commitment to the project will be invaluable to its timely and successful delivery.”
While Mr Lynch will return to Australia after retirement, he has accepted the Board’s invitation to be a Special Advisor to WKCDA for one year. He will continue to promote WKCD internationally with his vast experience and unrivalled connections in the global cultural scene.
The Authority will start searching for a suitable candidate for the position of COO vacated by Mr Pescod as soon as possible.
Biography of Mr Duncan Pescod
Mr Pescod took up the position of COO at the WKCDA in October 2014, responsible for the infrastructural development and commercial and operational planning of the project. Prior to that, Mr Pescod had 32 years of service with the Government in Hong Kong. He served in various bureaux and departments, including the former Home Affairs Branch, the former Security Branch, the Lands Department, the former Urban Services Department, the former City and New Territories Administration, the former Civil Service Branch, the Tourism Commission, and the Efficiency Unit. He was Special Representative for Hong Kong Economic and Trade Affairs to the European Communities from March 2006 to August 2008, Permanent Secretary for Commerce and Economic Development (Communications and Technology) from August 2008 to April 2010, and Permanent Secretary for Transport and Housing (Housing) and Director of Housing from May 2010 to April 2014.