(Yicai Global) Aug. 6 -- Wang Shi, founder of one China's largest real estate developers Vanke, is returning to BGI Genomics as the company battles to claw back its reputation and the value of its shares.
The board appointed him as co-chairman at its annual meeting, Wang said on a personal social media account on Aug. 4. The Beijing-based firm confirmed the news in a statement yesterday, saying the executive will help Chairman Wang Jian, a close friend of the returnee, get the company back on track after its integrity came into question. Wang served as an independent director for over two years before resigning for personal reasons in January.
Shares in the firm peaked at just over CNY257 (USD37.6) in November, but have since tumbled consistently to less than CNY69 and executives are buying back shares in hopes of retaining some value.
BGI provides pre-natal testing for mothers-to-be and the effectiveness of its tests have been questioned lately after a host of women given a 'low risk' of birthing a child with genetic defects delivered babies with Down syndrome or other abnormal conditions. The firm has also come under fire after Wang Jian said in May that BGI would be disgraced if its employees gave birth to children with genetic defects.
On top of that, the company is accused of fraudulently acquiring land for free under the pretense that they will build research labs and industry parks for local governments. BGI has penned 16 such deals since January 2013, according to data from NetEase, but is yet to start constructing any of them. Vice President Zhu Yanmei has denied the charges.
Editor: James Boynton