2011 Honorary Doctorate
There is no question of Mr David Eldon being a man of steadfastness and discipline, qualities nurtured in no small measure by his education at the Duke of York’s Royal Military School. He first went into banking in 1964, with an Australian group in London, a career which was to span over 40 years, 37 of which was with the same organization – the Hongkong and Shanghai Banking Group (HSBC), which he joined in 1968.
The young man from Scotland started out at HSBC’s Middle Eastern offices, and transferred to Hong Kong in 1979. Subsequent roles took him to Saudi Arabia, back to Hong Kong, and then, Malaysia. Rising through the ranks, he became HSBC’s Chief Executive in Asia in 1996, and Chairman in 1999, until his retirement in May 2005.
After his retirement, Mr Eldon continued to maintain an active professional profile, including serving five years as Chairman of the Board of Directors for the Dubai International Financial Centre, and as Senior Advisor of PricewaterhouseCoopers Limited. In May 2011, Mr Eldon made a part-time return to HSBC, becoming non-executive Chairman of HSBC Bank Middle East Limited.
His long, successful, and distinguished career has provided him with a wealth of knowledge in global markets, particularly in Asia and the Middle East. This knowledge, and his dedication and innate work ethic, has made him one of the most respected figures in the profession today.
On a personal level, Mr Eldon is straightforward, down-to-earth, and humorous, as readers of his blog well know; in the way he gives his views on world issues which are to impact on the global financial market, his modesty belying his insight and firm grasp of the volatile and intriguing Middle East situation, and his sensitivity on the nuances and implications of people and events around the globe. He has been a long-time performer of folk music, particularly Scottish and Irish songs, but in recent years his repertoire has broadened into more popular songs for charity. He has sung at HKAPA fund raisers and his rendition of the song ‘Islands in the Stream’ for the fund-raising evening of The Community Chest of Hong Kong in 2002 was particularly greatly appreciated.
Having lived in many parts of the world, Hong Kong is where Mr Eldon would call home for him and his family. With generosity of spirit, he continues to contribute to the wellbeing of Hong Kong through volunteer work for worthy causes, not least through his roles at the Hong Kong Academy for Performing Arts.
Mr Eldon’s contribution to the Academy is substantial. He served on the Academy Council for over nine years, from 1993 to 2002, through three Council Chairmen: Dr Helmut Sohmen, Mr Yao Kang and Professor Anna Pao Sohmen. At the time of the Academy celebrating its 10th anniversary, Mr Eldon’s expertise was just what was needed for it to move forward. He was also chair of the Academy’s Finance Committee in 1995.
Throughout these years, Mr Eldon lent his expertise in his capacities as Chief Executive of the HSBC, and as Steward of the Hong Kong Jockey Club. The Academy’s funding applications with the two organizations resulted in the completion of much-needed facilities, project launch, and the setting up of scholarship grants. These included : the launch of the Hong Kong Bank Foundation Mainland Exchange Scholarships Programme in 1996, that continues to this day; the Hong Kong Bank’s pledge of HK$1.1 million for the establishment of the Wayfoong Cantonese Opera Costume Collection in 2000; and the HK$20 million Hong Kong Jockey Club Millennium Studios completed in 2001.
As a member of the Special Working Group of the Academy’s Provident Fund Scheme in 2001, Mr Eldon expertly advised on formulating strategies for the investment structure of the Scheme. He was also a member of the HKAPA Management Committee of the restructured Provident Fund Scheme and the Mandatory Provident Fund Scheme. He is currently Special Advisor of the Staff Retirement Benefit Schemes Management Committee.
As Chairman of the Fundraising Committee during the government matching-grant period in 2009/2010, Mr Eldon’s Chairmanship was instrumental in raising over $67 million for the Academy.
Mr Eldon is a Fellow of the Chartered Institute of Bankers (FCIB), and was conferred Honorary Doctor of Business Administration by the City University of Hong Kong in November 2003. He was named the DHL/SCMP Hong Kong Business Person of the Year for 2003, and in 2004 was awarded the Gold Bauhinia Star.
(GBS) by the Government of the Hong Kong SAR. In 2005, he was made a Commander of the Most Excellent Order of British Empire (CBE) for his contribution to banking, and awarded Honorary Citizenship of Seoul in recognition of his work for the city. Mr Eldon is a Justice of the Peace (JP), and was awarded the Asian Banker Lifetime Achievement Award for 2005.
Mr Eldon has served the Academy consistently over many years and provided outstanding service to its Council, staff and students. The award recognises his continuous contribution to the Academy, his genuine commitment to students and colleagues of the Academy, and his support for the welfare and interests of its entire team.