Press Release



Statement by Chief Secretary for Administration


The following is the statement by the Chief Secretary for Administration, Mrs Anson Chan, at a media session at the Central Government Offices this (January 12) afternoon:

With the consent of the Chief Executive and for personal reasons, I have decided to retire from the post of Chief Secretary at the end of April this year.

As you all know, I was due to retire in January 2000. But in March 1999, I accepted the Chief Executive's invitation to stay on beyond my normal retirement age until 30 June 2002. At that time, we were still suffering from Hong Kong's worst economic recession. We had only just begun discussions on major reforms to the Civil Service, which would have far reaching implications both for the Service and for the wider community. In all the circumstances prevailing at the time, I thought it best to remain in my post.

Twenty-two months have passed since then. Our economy has staged a strong recovery. Public confidence and consumer sentiment have both improved. Most of the reforms to the Civil Service are in place. The Chief Executive has also delivered his Policy Address, outlining Government's major initiatives in the next few years.

I feel that it is time for me to step down and make way for new blood. I have served for over 38 years in the Civil Service, the last seven as Chief Secretary, making me the longest serving Chief Secretary since the war. I would now like to spend rather more time with my family. My retirement at the end of April would be most convenient from the work flow point of view and should give my successor adequate time to settle into his or her work by the time the second term Chief Executive assumes office in July 2002, thus providing maximum continuity at the top of the Civil Service.

I am most grateful to the Chief Executive for giving me the opportunity to continue to lead the Civil Service after the Handover. I thank him and the Central Government for their trust and support these past three and a half years. Whilst the issue of my successor is entirely a matter for the Chief Executive, I believe myself there are capable and committed officers within the Service who can rise to the challenge and who will maintain the best tradition of the Service. Hence, my departure should not affect the smooth functioning of the Government.

I am honoured and privileged to have led the Civil Service past the transition and through some of its most difficult and challenging years. I could not have done this without the full support of my colleagues and the people of Hong Kong. I thank them warmly for their support and confidence in me. Until my retirement, I shall continue to work closely with the Chief Executive in the good governance of Hong Kong and in serving the community.

End/Friday, January 12, 2001