HNA Group ousts tourism subsidiary CEO and founder

Tangla, Beijing, China

As part of a complete shakeup of its executive positions, China-based HNA Group has ousted the chairman and CEO of its tourism arm. According to the group, Xin Di, now a former HNA Group board member and founder as well, was let go to make a "normal personnel adjustment," according to the investment and aviation conglomerate.  

A source involved in the dismissal told Caixin Global its very rare for HNA Group to fire high-ranking executives. The conglomerate normally transfers these officials to another role following an extensive training period of several months. 

However, HNA Tourism, which operates the group's airline holdings, travel agency and hotel businesses, is not the only HNA subsidiary undergoing the restructuring. “HNA has adjusted some management positions to meet actual operations demands,” the company said in a statement. The conglomerate has also launched an internal probe of its tourism division, but has not revealed its reason behind the investigation. 

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HNA Group subsidiary Beijing Capital Airlines suspended its chairman, president and financial chief in May 2017 reportedly due to financial pitfalls. Most of them returned to reclaimed their executive seats. 

HNA Group, who is known for its overseas buying sprees ranging from airports and hotels to financial service companies, made a $6.5-billion bid for a 25-percent stake in Hilton Worldwide in 2016. In the previous year, HNA acquired Avolon Holdings, an aircraft leasing specialist, in a $2.5-billion deal. Its purchases have continued this year and include a 16.8-percent acquisition of travel retailer Dufry Group in April and its Singapore-based CWT buy for $944 million.

Although Beijing has been cracking down on what it calls excessive deals and overseas investments with harsh regulations, HNA Group told Reuters in September 2017 it plans to forge ahead with U.S. investments. Following the U.S. government’s push to limit Chinese investment, Adam Tan, CEO of HNA Group stated remains in the process of acquiring even more U.S-based assets. “We still have a strong belief U.S. and China will have a very good relationship, we will keep on investing (in) related business,” Tan said at a Hong Kong conference organized by Forbes magazine. The company is currently waiting on approval from the Committee on Foreign Investment in the United States to scoop up the SkyBridge Capital hedge fund from Anthony Scaramucci, the former communications director for Trump’s administration, along with a 25-percent stake in a U.S.-based fund management subsidiary of Old Mutual

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