HONG KONG — Chinese sportswear maker Li Ning’s stock fell nearly 6 percent in Monday trading following the announcement that its executive vice chairman and former chief executive officer Jin Goon Kim was leaving the company.
The Hong Kong-listed firm revealed the management change after the market closed last Friday. On Monday, Li Ning’s share price dropped 5.51 percent ending at a four-month low of 3.26 Hong Kong dollars, or 42 cents at current exchange, a share. That compared to a broader market that lost 3.18 percent.
Jin Goon Kim served as Li Ning’s interim ceo starting from July 2012. He stepped down last November when the company founder, former Olympic champion gymnast Li Ning, returned as interim ceo.
Kim is a partner of Texas Pacific Group (TPG), a private equity investment firm that is a substantial shareholder of Li Ning. His resignation is effective July 4.
The announcement from Li Ning stated that Kim had no disagreement with the board. TPG nominated Jesse Wu, chairman of Johnson & Johnson China, to join the executive committee effective from August 12. The company declined to comment further.
The change combined with the firm’s continued lack of a ceo prompted some analysts to question the company’s management strategy, and also whether it may signal an exit for TPG.
“We believe that Mr. Kim’s resignation from his directorship duties of Li Ning is an indicator that TPG may sell its stake in Li Ning,” Daiwa Capital Markets Hong Kong analysts Jamie Soo and Anson Chan wrote in a note.
“Furthermore, the company has undergone three ceo/interim ceo changes since July 2012, and with Mr. Li Ning as only the interim ceo (effective March 2015), the search for a permanent ceo lingers and is a cause for concern.”
Last month Jefferies also highlighted the management changes as a negative. “A stable long-term management and strategy is required in the competitive industry amid an industry consolidation phase,” it said in a report downgrading the stock.