The chief executive of Shanghai Zendai Property has resigned in the latest setback for the chequered Chinese real estate company.
Zhang Zelin tendered his resignation “due to other business commitments”, the company said in a Hong Kong Stock Exchange filing on 25 August, with the executive having stepped down from 19 August.
Shanghai Zendai, which developed the Thumb Plaza shopping centre in Pudong district, and has been beset by high level departures said that, “The Company will identify an appropriate person to fill the vacancy of the chief executive officer of the Group and make further announcement as soon as practicable.”
After Zendai founder and former chairman Dai Zhikang surrendered to police in 2019 over a peer-to-peer (P2P) lending controversy which later saw him put in custody for illegal fund raising, the company has suffered rapid turnover in its senior leadership.
Industry Veteran Exits
Zhang had served as CEO since January 2021. He was previously a manager of the human resources, marketing and investment department of the company’s Shanghai branch after joining the developer in 2013 from Longfor Properties.
His other former positions included deputy general manager of the Nanjing branch, deputy general manager of the Shenzhen branch and the general manager of the Hohhot branch of China Overseas Land & Investment Limited.
Zhang’s departure follows the company’s profit warning issued on August 18.
Zendai expects “a decline in revenue and gross profit of approximately 55 percent and 37 percent respectively due to a decrease in properties being delivered and recognised as revenue”, according to the filing.
The company also noted that it would take a hit on the disposal of an investment property of “approximately 99 percent”.
On 30 June, Zendai said that Harrison Ma Yun and Alfred Wu Junao, both executives with Fosun, had resigned as non-executive directors and had been replaced by Cui Di and Gavy Huang Jiawei, who also represent Fosun.
The Shanghai-focused Zendai was founded in 1992 and is perhaps best known for its Himalayas Art Center in Shanghai’s Pudong business district, China’s first privately funded, non-profit art institute.
Dai Zhikang surrendered to police over a peer-to-peer (P2P) lending controversy in August 2019 and was charged with illegal fundraising as Chinese authorities cracked down on the RMB 667 billion (US$93 billion) P2P industry.
Dai had abruptly shut two P2P lending units valued at RMB 10 billion as regulators attempted to clean up an industry racked with fraud. The company was said to be unable to repay its depositors.
It is not clear whether Dai stood trial or was sentenced in the case.
In the same year that Dai was taken into custody, Zendai’s proposed $5 billion Modderfontein development in South Africa collapsed, and the company has since kept a low profile.
In 2020, it opened the third phase of its Nanjing Zendai Himalayas office building.
According to its website, the company operates property management services in 10 large and medium-sized cities in China and manages more than 4 million square metres (43 million square feet) of office space.