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Huayi Brothers Co-Founder and Chairman Wang Zhongjun has resigned from his post as executive chairman of the board at Huayi Tencent Entertainment, the latter company announced Friday. He will step down next Tuesday because he “needs to focus on other matters,” it said.
Wang will be vacating his Huayi Tencent roles as executive director and chairman of the board, as well as his positions as both chairman and member of the company’s nomination and corporate governance committees. The company said there are “no disagreements” between Wang and the rest of its board of directors.
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Yuen Hoi Po, Huayi Tencent’s CEO and executive director, will temporary assume Wang’s responsibilities. A new chairman will be elected “as soon as possible” to fill Wang’s role.
His resignation nonetheless augurs poorly for the declining Huayi Brothers, China’s oldest and leading private production company. Despite having produced “The Eight Hundred,” the world’s top-grossing title of 2020, the firm has reported a streak of annual losses and was further clobbered in the first half of last year by the pandemic. After losses of $155 million in 2018 and a whopping $565 million in 2019, its veteran film division CEO Jerry Ye resigned last April.
Wang’s abrupt departure comes just a week after Liu Xiaobin, the director and CEO of Huayi competitor Wanda Film, announced his resignation from those roles and the company board’s strategy and nomination committees due to “personal reasons.”
Wang’s Shenzhen-listed Huayi Brothers was previously the largest stakeholder in Hong Kong-listed Huayi Tencent, but sold 13.17% of its shares last November, bringing its stake down to 5%. Yuen, who holds 17.76% of shares, is now Huayi Tencent’s largest stakeholder, and Tencent is now second largest.
Huayi Tencent is an investor in the Korean sci-fi blockbuster “Space Sweepers” and the Russo brothers’ upcoming “Cherry,” which will appear this year on Netflix and Apple TV+, respectively. It also has stakes in the David Silverman-directed animation “Extinct” and Roland Emmerich’s “Moonfall,” according to its website. It holds a 31% stake in Korea’s HB Entertainment.
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