KUALA LUMPUR -- Public Bank has announced that Teh Hong Piow, its founder and chairman, will step aside at the start of 2019 for an orderly succession at Malaysia's third-largest lender by assets.
Teh, 87, will also retire on Jan. 1, 2018, as chairman of two wholly-owned subsidiaries, Public Islamic Bank and Public Investment Bank, but will remain a non-executive director of both. He will also stay on as an adviser at Public Bank, which he founded in 1965 at the age of 35.
Teh's replacement was not announced in a stock exchange filing on Monday, but the bank's day-to-day management has long been in the hands of Tay Ah Lek, who became chief executive in 2002. Tay has been with the bank since its outset.
Teh himself started out with Oversea-Chinese Banking Corp. in Singapore and later worked at Malayan Banking (Maybank). Public Bank has been profitable since the outset, and shareholders continue to give its chairman standing ovations at the group's annual shareholder meeting each year.
Although Public Bank operates in Cambodia, China, Hong Kong, Laos, Sri Lanka, and Vietnam, 90% of its business remains in Malaysia. Unlike state banks, it gains little benefit from public projects, and relies mainly on retail clients. Its returns are above the industry average with lower costs.
Teh retains a 22.9% stake in Public Bank, and none of his four children are on the board or involved in management.