Thu, Jul 05, 2018 - Page 10 News List

HNA cochairman Wang dies after accident


The HNA Plaza in Beijing is pictured on Feb. 9.

Photo: Reuters

HNA Group Co (海航集團), the once-acquisitive Chinese conglomerate that has been selling billions of US dollars in assets this year, said that cochairman Wang Jian (王健) died after an accident on Tuesday in Provence, France. He was 57.

Wang, who was on a business trip, had a fall from which he could not recover, HNA said in a statement on its Web site, which did not provide further details.

HNA representatives declined to comment beyond public statements.

Wang’s sudden death comes at a time when the group, one of China’s most indebted companies, is seeking to recover from soaring borrowing costs after years of debt-fueled expansion.

HNA has sold more than US$14 billion in assets this year, including its multibillion-dollar stake in Hilton Worldwide Holdings Inc.

Wang owned about 15 percent of the Chinese conglomerate, making him one of the group’s biggest shareholders, according to HNA’s last update of its ownership structure.

HNA’s other cochairman, Chen Feng (陳峰), also holds a 15 percent stake.

Wang obtained an undergraduate degree in aviation management from the Civil Aviation University of China in 1983, and a master’s degree in business administration from Holland Maastricht School of Management in 1995, HNA said.

In 1990, he helped establish Hainan Provincial Airlines Co (海南省航空) and was one of the founders of the group.

“We mourn the loss of an exceptionally gifted leader and role model, whose vision and values will continue to be a beacon for all who had the good fortune to know him, as well as for the many others whose lives he touched through his work and philanthropy,” HNA said in a Business Wire statement.

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