Chinese insurance, healthcare and entertainment conglomerate, Fosun Group, announced late on Tuesday that its CEO and co-founder Liang Xinjun was resigning due to health reasons.
The 49-year-old billionaire, who was also vice-chairman, will now be replaced as CEO by another co-founder, Wang Qunbin, the company said in a statement.
Another long-time board member and senior vice president, Ding Guoqi, has also left to give “more time to family commitments,” the company said.
“I was surprised, but Xinjun has carefully thought it out and insisted, and this is our shared decision,” chairman Guo Guangchang said in an emotional letter to employees that was published on Fosun's Weibo account late on Tuesday.
“At the very beginning when we started our own business, we said the biggest advantage was that every day we could do different things, things that we had never done before,” said Guo.
“Indeed, over the past 25 years, Fosun has been different every day. As long as we have our vision and stay true to ourselves, Fosun will still be Fosun. We are all passersby, Xinjun is, so will I, and our common hope is for Fosun to go further and further.”
Liang, Guo and Wang Qunbin turned a small business founded in Shanghai in 1992 into one of China's most ambitious overseas investors. Fosun's foreign investments now include Club Med, Folli Follie, Thomas Cook and Cirque du Soleil.
Out of the company's four founders, only Guo and Wang now remain on the board. Liang – who is worth 2.2 billion US dollars according to the Forbes Real-Time Billionaires List – and Ding will no longer have positions in the company.
Tuesday's announcement came after Fosun reported a 28 percent rise in net profit for the 2016 calendar year to a record 10 billion yuan (1.45 billion US dollars).