Evergrande Life chairman Zhu Jialin has resigned after a little more than a year in his position with the insurance division of China’s third largest developer by sales, China Evergrande Group, according to a local media report.
Zhu is said to be leaving the company with Evergrande Life having yet to name a successor, according to a report in Shanghai-based news outlet the Paper.
The media report did not provide insight into the reason for Zhu’s resignation, which comes two months after the company’s vice chairman Chen Jie left the company after just six months with Evergrande Life.
Career Finance Executive Heads for the Exit
A veteran of China’s banking and insurance industries, the fifty-five year-old executive had been confirmed in his role at the helm of Evergrande Life by the China Banking and Insurance Regulatory Commission, which regulates mainland insurance providers, in July last year after joining the company in early 2018.
Zhu began his finance career in 2000 at CITIC-Prudential Life Insurance, a joint venture established by CITIC Group and Prudential Group. In total Zhu spent 13 years at CITIC-Prudential Life, working his way up to roles as deputy general manager, deputy CEO and eventually chief executive of the joint venture firm.
In March 2013, Zhu left CITIC-Prudential to join China CITIC Bank Corporation where he was appointed as a vice president in 2014. Three years later, Zhu resigned from CITIC Bank to join Evergrande Life.
Evergrande Life Caught in Debt Case
Zhu’s departure was revealed within days of the former CFO of one of its major creditors being summoned to court after the borrower failed to make payment on a bond purchased by Evergrande Life.
The insurer had sued auto parts supplier Kangde Xin after the Shenzhen-based firm had failed to make good on financial commitments related to a corporate bond. In all, Evergrande Life has demanded that Kangde Xin repay a total of RMB 200 million including principal, interest and late penalties owed on the bond.
At the time of the court summons Kangde Xin’s former CFO was free on bail awaiting trial after the company had defaulted on three renminbi denominated notes earlier this year.
Zhu’s colleague Chen Jie a former director of the Chongqing Insurance Regulatory Bureau had left Evergrande Life in July. Chen had been an official with the China Insurance Regulatory Commission for 31 years before joining Evergrande Life.
Evergrande Insurance Unit Holds Assets of RMB 15B
Now a top 20 mainland insurer, Evergrande Life, had been known as Great Eastern Life Assurance (China) Co Ltd until Evergrande took a controlling stake in the company in 2015. The real estate giant now holds a 50 percent stake in the financial services provider, with Sino-Singapore Great Eastern Life Assurance, a joint venture between Singapore’s Great Eastern and state-backed Chongqing Land Group retaining a 25 percent stake after selling a majority of its holdings to Evergrande.
Chongqing Casin Group, a conglomerate which initiated a failed attempt to acquire the Chicago Stock Exchange for $20 million in February 2018, holds the remaining 25 percent of Evergrande Life.
The insurance firm, which Evergrande Group does not include within its four pillar divisions of real estate, tourism, health care and new energy vehicles, has provided key financial support to the developer’s expansion. In June, the insurer purchased RMB 2 billion worth of bonds issued by its parent company through the secondary market.
Revenues from Evergrande Life’s insurance business from April through June amounted to RMB 6.947 billion, which drove net profit of RMB 398 million. At the end of June Evergrande Life had net assets of RMB 14.89 billion after recording net cash flow of RMB 13.91 billion during the period.