Fosun CEO Liang Xinjun is leaving the company he co-founded more than 25 years ago with four of his school buddies, as revealed by an unexpected announcement in Hong Kong today by Guo Guangchang, the billionaire chairman of the Shanghai-based investment conglomerate.
Guo, who has long been the primary driver behind the company, announced Liang’s departure today at a news conference in Hong Kong, saying that his 48-year-old former classmate was stepping down due to health reasons, and added that company vice president and former CFO, Ding Guoqi was also leaving the Hong Kong-listed company.
Dual Departures at the Same Time for Separate Reasons
“The departure of Ding Guoqi and Xinjun, in particular that of Xinjun due to health reasons, will have an impact on Fosun in the short-term,” Guo was citing as telling reporters and analysts in an account by Reuters. In an announcement to the Hong Kong stock exchange posted late yesterday, Fosun indicated that Ding was stepping down to devote more time to his family.
Liang has been been replaced by fellow co-founder Wang Qunbin.
Fosun has been among China’s most aggressive cross-border investors, having famously purchased Chase Manhattan Plaza in New York for $725 million in 2013, after Guo flew to Manhattan personally to inspect the building. The company owns developer Shanghai Forte Land, and in recent years has made acquisitions in finance, real estate, tourism and fashion across Europe, Australian and both North and South America.
Life Changes Once You’ve Been Inside
While Guo provided his explanation of the management turnover to the press today, Liang has yet to speak publicly on the matter.
Sources familiar with the inner workings of Fosun’s management who spoke to Mingtiandi on condition of anonymity indicated that relations among Fosun’s senior executives had changed since Guo was detained by authorities in Shanghai in December 2015, as part of the President Xi Jinping’s anti-corruption crackdown.
Guo is said to have been detained to assist with an investigation by local authorities into a corruption case relating to another businessman and former official in the city, and was later released without being charged with any crimes.
Since that time, sources indicate that friction between Guo and Liang, who has often served as the company’s public face, have grown to the point where the two were no longer able to work together effectively. Inquiries to Fosun by Mingtiandi regarding the matter went unanswered at the time this report was published.
While Liang is now leaving the company he spent 25 years building, like his fellow Zhejiang native Guo, Liang has done very well for himself, and heads through the door with a personal fortune estimated by Forbes at over $1 billion as of 2013.