The government has said that applications for a new chair of the Equal Opportunities Commission (EOC) will open on Friday.

The incumbent EOC Chair Alfred Chan started in his job in April 2016. It is uncertain if Chan will leave his job, but his tenure is set to expire on April 10, 2019.

Chan was criticised in February this year for alleged “nepotism” or running a “black box operation” over the hiring of a chief project manager close to him. Lawmakers said that the new chief project manager had “no experience whatsoever” in anti-discrimination and human rights law.

alfred chan
Alfred Chan. Photo: Karen Cheung/HKFP.

But the EOC said Chan did not participate in the shortlisting stage, and Chan immediately declared his interest to the recruitment panel after learning that the candidates shortlisted included someone he knew.

As such, there is no question of the EOC committing nepotism or conducting a ‘black-box operation’ in the recruitment process,” a statement from the EOC said at the time.

A government statement on Thursday said that the advertisement for the EOC chair job will be published in newspapers on Friday.

Applicants should be Hong Kong permanent residents and have a good general education, and a strong commitment to promoting equal opportunities and building an inclusive, barrier-free and harmonious society, the statement said.

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It also said applicants should have at least 15 years of relevant experience in public administration, professional practice or private sector management at a senior level, clear vision, impeccable integrity and good leadership qualities, among other requirements.

The hiring process will be conducted by a private agency and applicants should submit their applications by November 2.

A Selection Board will recommend the most suitable candidate to Chief Executive Carrie Lam for appointment. The Board is chaired by Bernard Chan, and its members include Lam Ching-choi. Both Chan and Lam are Executive Council members.

The Board will also have members including Zubin Foundation founder Shalini Mahtani, social work professor Daniel Shek, Secretary for Labour and Welfare Law Chi-kwong, and Secretary for Constitutional and Mainland Affairs Patrick Nip.

The new EOC Chairperson will be appointed by the chief executive after the selection.

Kris Cheng is a Hong Kong journalist with an interest in local politics. His work has been featured in Washington Post, Public Radio International, Hong Kong Economic Times and others. He has a BSSc in Sociology from the Chinese University of Hong Kong. Kris is HKFP's Editorial Director.