Editor of SCMP turfed out after ex-Star chiefs move in
Reshuffle at South China Morning Post
• Reg Chua out as editor after tussles with Steven Tan, ex-Star boss
• Ng Poh Tip and Michael Aeria join Steven in senior posts
The editor of Hong Kong’s South China Morning Post, Reginald Chua, is believed to have been forced out by the owner of the paper, billionaire tycoon Robert Kuok, who brought in Steven Tan, former boss of The Star, last year to help his family to reshape the paper.
Kuok bought the paper in 1993 from Rupert Murdoch, it is believed to please China and keep it in China-friendly hands. Kuok has extensive connections with China’s leadership and has been upset by reports in the Post critical of China.
Last year, Steven Tan, the longtime Star chief executive, joined the SCMP after tenure at The Star ended with the change in MCA leadership. (The MCA owns The Star and has a “golden share” giving it veto power over key decisions.) Steven has had a long friendship with Robert Kuok’s family, from his time as a Business Times journalist and later as boss of The Star.
The departure of Reg Chua, a Singaporean, came after several run-ins with Steven, it is believed.
Earlier this year Steven brought in Ng Poh Tip, who after retiring as chief editor had remained with the company as editorial adviser with supervision over the MCA-owned UTAR’s media studies programme.
She was recently joined by Michael Aeria, one of her successors as editor. Michael was later eased out into the paper’s new media division, in which he had already been involved in the development of its radio station and other broadcasting ventures and Internet activities. After retiring from the new media division, he was brought in late last year, as an adviser to help develop The Star’s offering for the iPad tablet by Apple.
The departure of Reg Chua is the latest in string of changes in the editor’s chair since Robert Kuok bought the paper. His first move was to recruit Jonathan Fenby from the Observer, with a promise of editorial independence. He left after a year, and there have been five other editors since.
Reg Chua had been editor of the Asian Wall Street Journal in Hong Kong before moving to New York where he rose to become deputy managing editor.
» see also Asian Sentinel report