Troubled Chinese sportswear maker Li Ning said Friday that Jin Goon Kim was stepping down from his station as executive director and executive vice-chairman to pursue other commitments, effective on July 4, causing the company’s stock to tumble nearly 6 percent on Monday.
Kim, a TPG Capital partner who had previously served as interim CEO from July 2012 until last November, will be succeeded by Wu Jen-Wei, chairman of Johnson & Johnson China, who will join the executive committee on Aug. 12.
The boardroom shakeup is the latest obstacle in the 25-year-old sportswear brand’s bid to engineer a turnaround after earlier racking up its third consecutive year of losses, pinched by competition from global brands such as Nike and Under Armour as well as cheaper local firms, like Anta and Peak.
The Hong Kong-listed company’s namesake founder returned as interim CEO last March, after the third chief executive change in less than three years, and has been searching for a permanent CEO ever since. Despite clearing out inventory built up by third-party distributors and shutting thousands of under-performing stores since 2012, not to mention an endorsement deal with NBA All-Star and Miami Heat shooting guard Dwayne Wade, Li Ning has remained firmly in the red.
Kim’s resignation has caused some analysts to question Li Ning’s management strategy as well as TPG’s ability—or desire—to improve operations.