China's Fosun says co-founder steps down in surprise reshuffle

China's Fosun says co-founder steps down in surprise reshuffle
A view of the headquarters of Shanghai Fosun Pharma Group in Shanghai
PHOTO: Reuters

HONG KONG - Fosun International Ltd , one of China's most aggressively acquisitive conglomerates, said late on Tuesday that its co-founder and chief executive would step down in a broader reshuffle announced alongside annual earnings.

The leisure-to-insurance group, one of China's largest privately held firms, said in a statement to the Hong Kong stock exchange that Liang Xinjun had resigned for health reasons. It gave no further details.

Senior vice-president Ding Guoqi also stepped down from the group.

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Liang has been a public face of Fosun, particularly around the battle for French leisure group Club Med. He founded Fosun in 1992 with chairman Guo Guangchang and a handful of others, with the aim of emulating the strategy of US investor Warren Buffet, using insurance cash for more lucrative investments.

For Fosun, that has included bets on everything from Portuguese insurance to One Chase Manhattan Plaza, the headquarters of JPMorgan, bought in 2013.

Fosun said in the statement that its net profit rose 28 per cent to a record high of over 10 billion yuan (S$2 billion).

In the Tuesday statement Guo emphasised the group's strategy to contain funding costs while investing heavily in new technologies, including artificial intelligence and automation.

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