John Tsang has resigned from his role as Secretary of Finance, a day after Sunday’s Chief Executive Committee elections. He is widely expected to enter the upcoming Chief Executive election, due to take place next March.
His resignation is pending Beijing’s approval. Secretary for Financial Services and the Treasury Professor Ceajer Chan Ka-keung will take on his role as acting finance chief, according to a government statement published on Monday.
Tsang has been the city’s finance chief since 2007, and was responsible for drawing up Hong Kong’s budget. During his tenure, he was criticised for underestimating the budget surplus for eight years in a row. However, his estimate came close to the actual figures for the year 2015-2016.
As a younger man, Tsang spent 17 years in the US where he studied architecture at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology. He earned a master’s degree in Bilingual Education from Boston State College, and a Master of Public Administration from the Harvard Kennedy School.
He then returned to Hong Kong and joined the civil service, holding the position of Secretary of Commerce, Industry and Technology from 2003 to 2006, and was director of the Chief Executive’s Office from 2006 to 2007.
The Chief Executive election will take place on March 26. The only candidate who has declared his candidacy thus far is retired judge Woo Kwok-hing. Lawmaker Regina Ip is expected to launch her bid for the city’s top job this Thursday.