Mainland developer Country Garden Holdings announced this past week that two of its executive directors have tendered their resignations, as China’s largest developer by sales struggles financially, including having launched three major equity sales totalling HK$13.73 billion ($1.75 billion) since late November.
Yang Zhicheng, the 48-year-old nephew of Country Garden chairman Yang Guoqiang (or Yeung Kwok Keung, by his Cantonese name), has resigned from his position as executive director, along with 54-year-old Song Jun. Both executives are stepping down from the board of directors “due to reallocation of work,” according to the developer’s filing with the Hong Kong Stock Exchange.
As part of its leadership reshuffle, China’s biggest builder by sales appointed a new pair of executive directors, including executive vice president Cheng Guangyu and vice president and chief financial officer Wu Bijun. Their new terms of office began on December 20 and will continue until December 31, 2024, Country Garden said in the filing.
Yang Zhicheng’s 20 December resignation means he is also giving up his posts on both the executive and finance committees, while both Yang and Song will continue in their other work duties after leaving the board, according to the announcement.
Promoting From Within
Yang, who was appointed executive director at Country Garden in December 2006, has been responsible for the overall development and management of property projects at the company. The executive has 28 years of experience in project development, according to the developer’s 2021 annual report.
Yang is also a regional president of the group, and was appointed as a non-executive director of Country Garden’s Hong Kong-listed property management arm CG Services in March of 2018.
Song, who was appointed as an executive director in May 2013, has overseen the operation, management and development of the group’s property projects in specific regions. He holds a concurrent post as director of the group’s structural adjustment and optimization office.
As for the new executive directors, 42-year-old Cheng is responsible for managing the group’s overall sales and marketing, investment planning, product design and brand management. He also oversees the risk control, audit and supervision centre, and the commercial and culture tourism group.
Wu, 49, who leads Country Garden’s finance and capital management, was appointed as the group’s vice president and then chief financial officer in 2014 and 2017, respectively. Prior to joining the group in 2005, she was responsible for accounting and auditing management at the Hubei Branch of China Construction Bank.
Both Cheng and Wu are entitled to receive a basic annual salary of RMB 1 million ($143,145), according to the announcement, as well as a year-end management bonus to be determined by the board.
The leadership moves come as Country Garden Holdings faces RMB 524.25 billion ($75.2 billion) in maturing liabilities through mid-year 2023, based on its interim report for the period ending June 30.
On December 11, Yang Huiyan, daughter of group chairman Yang Guoqiang, marked the third major equity sale within the Country Garden Empire in a month by agreeing to sell a portion of her controlling stake in Country Garden Services Holdings for about HK$5.06 billion.
In November, S&P Global downgraded Country Garden’s long-term issuer credit rating to B+ from BB, before the developer requested that the credit rating agency withdraw its ratings later that month.
“In our view, it will need to rely heavily on internal resources to settle its upcoming bond maturities and bank syndicated loans. This could undermine Country Garden’s existing cash buffer,” S&P Global said in its November report.
The value of Country Garden’s stock has fallen about 60 percent in the year to date, closing at HK$2.68 per share on Friday.