Wednesday 14 November 2018

HNA co-chair Wang dies in fall from wall

Wang Jian. Photo: REUTERS
Wang Jian. Photo: REUTERS

Erich Zann

Chinese conglomerate HNA Group co-chairman Wang Jian has died during a business trip in France in what police say appeared to be an accidental fall from a wall while posing for a photograph.

Wang (57) is regarded as the architect of an eye-popping $50bn (€43bn) acquisition spree that saw HNA accumulate assets ranging from a stake in Deutsche Bank to high-profile overseas properties. Under pressure from Beijing, HNA has since sold off many of the assets to cut debt. HNA controls Bohai, owner of Irish-based Avolon.

Wang was in charge of HNA's strategy and ran day-to-day operations, sources familiar with the matter have said, while his fellow chairman and co-founder Chen Feng was often the public face of the group.

Wang fell 15m from a wall in the village of Bonnieux, near Avignon, a picturesque area popular with tourists, Lieutenant-Colonel Hubert Meriaux of the Vaucluse gendarmerie force told Reuters.

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