BEIJING: China’s HNA Group has announced a management reshuffle, in its latest move to calm worries about leadership at the conglomerate after the sudden death of its co-chairman, Wang Jian, during a business trip last month.
Current HNA Group chief executive Adam Tan has been named chairman of HNA International, a position previously held by Wang. Tan will continue to be the vice-chairman and CEO of the group, it said in a statement.
The group also appointed Dennis Chen as its chief investment officer, succeeding James Wang. Chen will also serve as executive chairman of HNA International.
“These changes will help us meet our commitment to refocus around our core aviation and tourism and logistics businesses,” HNA group chairman Chen Feng said in the statement.
The move comes weeks after Wang died in France on July 3 from what local police said appeared to be an accidental fall from a wall while posing for a photograph.
Wang ran day-to-day operations and is widely regarded as the architect of HNA’s US$50bil acquisition spree that pushed the conglomerate into debt.
His sudden death has raised concerns about any potential directional change in company strategy and leadership amid the conglomerate’s efforts to slash its massive debt burden.
The 14.98% stake Wang owned in the conglomerate would be donated to a China-based charity foundation that is already among its top shareholders, HNA has previously said.
HNA is controlled by a New York-based foundation and a China-based charity, dubbed Hainan Province Cihang Charity Foundation, that together hold 52% of HNA shares.
The China-based charity which will take on Wang’s stake already controls 22.75% of the conglomerate.
The sprawling HNA, which accumulated assets ranging from a stake in Deutsche Bank to high-profile overseas properties in its shopping spree, has now shifted focus to its core airlines and tourism businesses.
HNA has agreed to sell US$10bil in real estate, has sold its stake in Hilton Worldwide Holdings Inc and trimmed its Deutsche Bank stake. Hainan Airlines Co, China’s fourth-largest airline which, is considered HNA’s crown jewel. — Reuters
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