China conglomerate boss Wang Jian dies in Provence, France

The co-founder and chairman of giant Chinese conglomerate, HNA Group, has died in a fall in southern France, his company has confirmed.

Wang Jian, 57, "accidentally fell" in Provence, while on a business trip to France, a company statement said.

He fell from a wall in the village of Bonnieux on Tuesday as he was having his picture taken, police
say.

Mr Wang helped turn HNA into one of the world's biggest companies, with assets in aviation, tourism and finance.

It has major stakes in Deutsche Bank, hotel chain Hilton and skyscrapers in London and employs more than 400,000 people worldwide.

HNA is currently in the process of selling down some of its international assets in a bid to reduce its domestic debt built up during a rapid expansion in recent years.

- Edge of a sharp drop -

The company, which turned its website grey in a gesture of mourning, said it had lost an "exceptionally gifted leader and role model, whose vision and values will continue to be a beacon for all who had the good fortune to know him".

French police said Mr Wang fell some 15m off a wall, and they were not treating his death as suspicious.

"He stood on the edge of a sharp drop to get his family to take a picture of him and fell," a local police chief Hubert Meriaux said, according to Reuters news agency.

"Witness accounts point to a likely accident," he also said, adding that a post-mortem examination will be carried out.




BBC

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