HNA chairman Wang died falling off wall in France, says police source

Jul 05, 2018, 08:00
HNA chairman Wang died falling off wall in France, says police source

However, broadcaster France Bleu reported on Tuesday that a man fitting Wang's description had fallen more than 10 meters (33 feet) to his death while attempting to take a photo from a wall.

But it racked up huge debts in the process and has since reversed course, selling assets to ease financial pressures as authorities in China cracked down on aggressive overseas deal-making by Chinese companies.

"HNA Group extends deepest condolences to Mr Wang's family and many friends", HNA said in a statement distributed by Business Wire.

Wang suffered the fatal accident yesterday in the picturesque hillside village of Bonnieux after climbing onto a parapet, either to see the view of the valley below or to have his photograph taken, local security sources told AFP.

The company did not give the circumstances of Wang's death or provide an exact location.

Chinese group HNA Chairman Wang Jian and Pierre et Vacances Chairman Gerard Bremond shake hands during a signing ceremony in Paris on July 4, 2016.

"Wang Jian's death will definitely bring short-term shocks to HNA's business development", said Liu Feng, director of the Hainan Normal University Free Trade Port Research Center.

"Together, we mourn the loss of an exceptionally gifted leader and role model, whose vision and values will continue to be a beacon for all who had the good fortune to know him", the firm said.

For a co-founder of a regional airline in China, Wang Jian's rise to prominence in worldwide business might come as a surprise to many.

Wang, who held a stake of just under 15 per cent in the group, was in charge of its strategy and ran day-to-day operations, sources familiar with the matter have said, while his fellow chairman Chen was often the public face of the conglomerate.

Launched in 1993 on the southern island of Hainan, HNA expanded into finance, hotels, logistics and other businesses in a multibillion-dollar global acquisition spree in recent years.

Wang began his career in civil aviation planning in 1983.

The company also published its website in monochrome as an apparent mark of respect.

HNA Group's logistics service unit CWT International Ltd dropped 5.5 percent to the lowest since April a year ago, Hong Kong International Construction Investment Management Group slid 3.7 percent, and HNA Technology was down 2.4 percent.