Wanda Film Group President Zeng Maojun (aka John Zeng) has been elected unanimously as non-executive Chairman of the AMC Entertainment Board of Directors, effective immediately. This follows last week’s resignation of Lincoln Zhang from the Chairman role at North America’s leading exhibition chain. He was due to transition to a new senior position within AMC parent Dalian Wanda Group.
In his role as President of Wanda Film Group, Zeng is the Chinese conglomerate’s most senior executive in charge of all film-related activity. That includes Wanda Cinemas, Wanda Films and the Qingdao Movie Metropolis in China. He has served on the AMC board since February 2016.
As Wanda Chairman Wang Jianlin pursues an asset-light strategy with a focus on reducing corporate debt, the company has sold off billions in holdings during the past several months. Specifically in the film unit, it sold a 12.77% stake for RMB 7.8B ($1.24B) last month to an affiliate of Jack Ma’s Alibaba Group and the state-owned Cultural Investment Holdings Co. AMC today notes that the appointment of Zeng as its chairman “reflects Wanda’s continuing commitment to AMC.”
In a statement, Zeng said: “I appreciate the leadership of Adam Aron as CEO and all the hard work by the entire AMC management team to put AMC in a position to succeed. I look forward to working with them, and with my fellow board members, to make AMC stronger and stronger.”
Added Adam Aron, CEO and President of AMC Entertainment: “Wanda has been a terrific major shareholder of AMC, and we are fortunate that Wanda’s most senior executive in charge of its diverse film businesses has agreed to serve as AMC Chairman. John Zeng is both experienced and knowledgeable about our industry and our company, and undoubtedly will be a superb Chairman of AMC’s Board of Directors.”
Zhang’s exit last week closely followed the resignation of two senior execs in Wanda’s Chinese films unit. Changes in Wanda’s executive ranks are not uncommon. Jack Gao stepped down as SVP of the Dalian Wanda Group and as the interim CEO of Legendary Entertainment last October. Gao had taken over in the CEO role when founder Thomas Tull exited. In January this year, Jiang Wei (who also goes by the first name of Wayne) was appointed CEO of Legendary East.