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Chairman of Chinese conglomerate HNA dies in accident
05 July 2018, 04:31 | Kelvin Horton
China business SHOCK: China's HNA co-chairman Wang Jian dies after fall in France
Wang Jian suffered 15 meters fall, while posing for a photograph, the police said.
Chinese conglomerate HNA Group Co. said its chairman and co-founder Wang Jian died after being injured in an accident during a business trip in France.
A local police chief, Hubert Meriaux, was quoted as saying by Reuters that Wang had been trying to get his family to take a picture of him when he fell.
Wang, the second-highest ranking executive at the group, owned about 15 percent of the Chinese conglomerate, making him one of the group's biggest shareholders, according to HNA's last update of its ownership structure. Chen also holds a 15 per cent stake.
HNA said Wang, whose personal fortune is estimated at $1.7 billion by Forbes magazine, had been visiting Bonnieux during a business trip to France.
HNA is now in the process of selling down some of its worldwide assets in a bid to reduce its domestic debt built up during a rapid expansion in recent years.
Wang was instrumental during HNA's era of empire-building and its subsequent dismantlement.
Since 2015, HNA had been on a massive shopping spree, forking out around $40 billion on a 25 per cent stake in the Hilton hotel group, shares in Deutsche Bank, several golf courses and other foreign property.
"HNA Group extends deepest condolences to Mr. Wang's family and many friends".
HNA's individual shareholders have promised to give their stakes to the NY charity fund in case of leaving the company or death, according to the document. It was not immediately clear how binding those promises were. Hainan then grew into a major conglomerate with interests in not only aviation but also real estate, financial services, tourism, and logistics. They added that their investigation so far suggested his death was an accident.
"Deleveraging pressures on HNA continue to be enormous, and all such plans will probably now be revisited as the management team reconstitutes itself", he said.
"Everyone in the office is talking about it, but we don't know what impact it will have on the company's direction".
He obtained an undergraduate degree in Aviation Management from Civil Aviation University of China in 1983, and a master's degree in business administration from Holland Maastricht School of Management in 1995.