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YTL Pacific CEO dies after cosmetic surgery; company works on succession

SINGAPORE: YTL Pacific Star REIT Management Ltd, the manager of the US$1 billion (RM3.37 billion) Starhill Global REIT, is working on a succession plan after the sudden demise of its CEO Franklin Heng following cosmetic surgery at an Orchard Road clinic here.

"The manager is working on the necessary transition arrangement and succession plan and will make the relevant announcements once these have been finalised," it said in a statement on Jan 7, 2010.

YTL Pacific Star said in the meantime, its executive chairman Tan Sri Francis Yeoh would work closely with the senior management team to ensure that operations continued smoothly.

Yeoh said: "We are shocked and deeply saddened by the sudden loss. Franklin spearheaded the listing of Starhill Global REIT in September 2005 and has since led the team to grow the REIT's portfolio from two initial assets in Singapore to 10 in Singapore, China and Japan, with potential acquisitions in Australia and Malaysia."

The Straits Times reported that Heng, who was 44, was ferried by ambulance on Dec 30 from the clinic to Tan Tock Seng Hospital, where he was pronounced dead. The case has been referred to the coroner.

"The patient came from a GP clinic and had had liposuction done earlier that afternoon," the hospital's CEO Dr Lim Suet Wun told the newspaper. Late Wednesday night, police said they had classified the case as one of unnatural death, and were investigating.

The Straits Times said Heng was credited with growing Starhill Global REIT's portfolio from just stakes in shopping malls Wisma Atria and Ngee Ann City, to 10 PROPERTIES [ //
According to the report, a close friend of Heng, who did not want to be named, said the divorcee and father of two was concerned about  "love-handles" although he appeared to be "fit, trim and in the pink of health".

A security officer at the building where the clinic is based told the newspaper that it was not Heng's first visit to the GP clinic, which was a two-man practice registered about six months ago.

According to The Straits Times, the clinic's website says its two doctors have together carried out more than 500 Vaser Liposelection procedures and 100 High Definition Vaser procedures.

Asked by the newspaper about the doctors' qualifications, the clinic's staff said they were both dermatologists — or specialists in skin problems, but the publication's check with the Singapore Medical Council registry of doctors showed them both listed as general practitioners with diplomas in dermatology.

According to the report, complications in liposuctions could arise if a patient has underlying conditions, such as a weak abdominal wall, which the doctor is not aware of, and an inexperienced doctor might also puncture a vital organ, resulting in internal bleeding.
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