Octopus scandal claims another scalp

Lincoln Leong is stepping down as Octopus Holdings non-executive chairman following fresh details about the company's profits from selling consumers personal data.

After more than nine years of service, an Octopus press statement said Leong "will retire" as non-executive chairman of Octopus Holdings and Octopus Cards Limited on 31 December.

The news comes as fresh details surface about the company's profit from selling consumer data.

Earlier this year Octopus said it made $44 million in profit from what it called "renting" consumers personal information to third-party vendors. Yesterday it was revealed a more accurate figure was closer to $58 million.

John Strickland, a HSBC veteran and current chairman of Hong Kong Internet Registration Corporation, will succeed Leong to become the group's new non-executive chairman from 1 January 2011.

"It is my intention to ensure that Octopus continues to provide a totally reliable and customer friendly service," Strickland said.

"I am very conscious of the important role Octopus plays in the lives of the people of Hong Kong."

Octopus has come under heavy scrutiny since the scandal erupted and legislation will today go before The Legislative Council, which is calling for an opt-in approach to direct marketing.