The chairman of one of the top investment companies in the world died on Wednesday after falling nearly 50 feet off a scenic wall in France as he posed for his family to take his photo.
“He stood on the edge of a sharp drop to get his family to take a picture of him and fell,” said French Lt. Col. Hubert Meriaux, according to Reuters.
Wang Jian, chairman of HNA, which invests in real estate, banks and hotels among other entities, was visiting the popular tourist village of Bonnieux near Avignon, France, when he suffered the fatal fall.
His company is worth over $53 billion in acquisitions and was ranked number 170 on Fortune’s Global 500 list in 2017. Its major stakes include Deutsche Bank, Grand China Air and the Hilton hotel chain. Wang faced push-back from China’s government for his large ownership in the company and was forced to sell shares to cut debt. (RELATED: China Allegedly Behind Major Security Breach At Big-Time US Law Firms)
Wang had a 15-percent share in the company. HNA is controlled by a foundation in New York and a charity based in China, which together control 52 percent of the shares.
HNA’s shareholders pledged to relinquish their stakes to the New York charity fund in the event of death or if they ever left the company, according to a document obtained by Reuters.
The company changed the interface of its website to gray to mourn the loss of its chairman on Wednesday.
“Witness accounts point to a likely accident” and French authorities do not suspect foul play, Meriaux told BBC.
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