Wanda to Replace Lincoln Zhang as AMC Entertainment Chairman

Two other senior executives have left Wanda's film operation

Wanda Cinema Line
Patrick Frater

Lincoln Zhang, non-executive chairman of AMC Entertainment, the leading North American cinema chain controlled by China’s Dalian Wanda group, has stepped down with immediate effect. Zhang, also known as Zhang Lin, is expected to shift to a senior position within Wanda.

Zhang is “taking on new responsibilities within AMC’s controlling shareholder Dalian Wanda,” AMC said in a regulatory filing made Monday in North America. It added that it expected to “select a new chairman from within its ranks shortly.”

Zhang’s departure from AMC follows the resignations Friday of two senior executives within its Chinese films operation. Jiang Defu, general manager of film production unit Wanda Pictures, and Que Wenxiong, general manager of theatrical distributor Wuzhou Film Distribution, both departed the company last Friday.

Privately held Wanda has been hobbled by government restrictions on several of its operations overseas and in China, and has hastily moved to reduce debts. The company has sold off most of its overseas property portfolio and most of its leisure assets and theme parks within China. It is also attempting to financially re-engineer its film businesses within China within the Shenzhen-listed Wanda Film Holdings subsidiary.

Last year it let go of Jack Gao, the high-profile former Fox and Microsoft executive who had headed Wanda’s international projects in the cultural and leisure sectors. For several months Gao operated as interim boss of Legendary Entertainment, after the resignation of Legendary founder Thomas Tull in January 2017.

Wanda offered no comment on the latest executive reshuffle. However, in a statement, AMC said that Zhang’s resignation as a director of AMC “did not involve any disagreement between him and AMC on any matter related to AMC’s operations, policies, practices or otherwise….The board of directors of AMC has not appointed a replacement for Mr. Zhang at this time. However, the AMC Board does expect to select a new chairman from within its ranks shortly.”

AMC Entertainment shares dropped 5.8% in their most recent trading session to close at $14.75.