Caixin
Aug 31, 2021 07:40 PM
BUSINESS

Moutai Chairman Ousted After Just 18 Months in the Job

What’s new: Kweichow Moutai Group Chairman Gao Weidong will be removed from his position at the legacy liquor giant after just 18 months in the top job, after the local authorities appointed a provincial energy bureaucrat to the role.

The Guizhou Provincial Government announced Monday that it had tapped Ding Xiongjun to serve as chairman and director of Moutai Group and its subsidiaries.

Shanghai-listed arm Kweichow Moutai (600519.SH) told the bourse the change would take place after an upcoming board meeting. No reasons were given for the personnel change.

Kweichow Moutai is a unit of China Kweichow Moutai Winery Group Co. Ltd., which is wholly owned by the State-owned Assets Supervision and Administration Commission in Southwest China’s Guizhou province,

The background: The shakeup comes as the firm continues to be dogged by graft probes, investor rumblings, and a regulatory push to make the baijiu market “more orderly.”

The world’s most valuable liquor company traditionally promoted long-term company men to its top roles, but that began to change after a shake-up centering on the 2018 resignation and subsequent anti-corruption probe of fourth-generation leader Yuan Renguo, which revealed widespread graft.

Yuan was succeeded by Li Baofang, who himself stepped down in March 2020.

Ding Xiongjun, 47, currently serves as director of the Guizhou Provincial Energy Bureau.

On Aug. 20, China’s State Administration for Market Regulation hauled in representatives from baijiu firms and their investors to discuss runaway prices of the luxury liquor once associated with long lunches among bureaucrats and businessmen. Also on the agenda was the flood of private equity capital into such firms.

Quick Takes are condensed versions of China-related stories for fast news you can use.

Contact reporter Flynn Murphy (flynnmurphy@caixin.com) and editor Joshua Dummer (joshuadummer@caixin.com)

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