Fosun names new chiefs in one of biggest management reshuffles since 2017 after overseas buying spree

Louise Moon

Chinese conglomerate Fosun International has announced one of its biggest executive reshuffles in three years after a slew of acquisitions overseas, strengthening its top management just as the local economy is growing at the slowest pace since 1990.

The Shanghai-based group appointed Chen Qiyu and Xu Xiaoliang as joint chief executive, effective immediately, according to a Hong Kong exchange filing late Friday. Chen and Xu, who are both executive directors, relinquished their positions as co-presidents at the same time.

They replaced Wang Qunbin, who will become co-chairman of the company with Guo Guangchang. Wang had assumed the CEO post in March 2017 following the surprise resignation of Liang Xinjun for health reasons. Wang, Guo and Liang are three of the company’s five co-founders.

The co-CEOs will bring their experience in pharmaceuticals, property and mining industries to the group amid the biggest public health crisis in China and the region since 2003. The coronavirus outbreak has brought the world’s second-largest economy almost to a standstill amid city lockdowns to contain the virus, after growth had already slowed to 6.1 per cent in 2019.

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The conglomerate has spent billions on its overseas expansion drive in recent years, picking up stakes in health care, tourism and banking assets such as Cirque du Soleil, Club Med and Banco Comercial Portugues.

The group plans to relaunch the 178-year-old Thomas Cook tour operator in the first half of this year, on a travel platform targeting European customers. It paid £11 million (US$14.25 million) for its trademark, domain names, apps and social media accounts after the British company went under last year.

In other key appointments on Friday, Fosun said Gong Ping has replaced Xue Linnan as chief financial officer. Gong will share the new role with Zhang Houlin and Zhang Ligang, according to the stock exchange announcement.

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