Wahaha unhappy at chairman appointment

By Neil Merrett

- Last updated on GMT

Related tags: Corporation, Board of directors, Danone

Danone's soap opera-like conflict with Chinese joint venture
partner Wahaha continued to escalate yesterday, with the Asian firm
attacking its newly appointed chairman.

Wahaha said that it was vehemently opposed to Danone's appointment of Emmanuel Faber as being in violation of their corporate charter. "The Chinese directors hold that the chairman should be elected by the board,"​ said the group in a statement released to business magazine Forbes. The latest attack further highlights the difficulties faced by foreign companies keen to enter Asia's lucrative emerging markets. Over the last few months, Wahaha has been locked in legal disputes with majority partner Danone, over claims that it has breached its contractual agreements. The growing hostility that has resulted from this between the two companies led to the resignation of the group's former chairman last week, with Danone announcing it would be putting its own man Faber in charge. A move that has created further resentment from Wahaha's remaining board members. "The Chinese directors said explicitly that they do not trust Faber... and the vicious attack on Mr Zong has triggered enormous anger among the whole staff, who reject Danone and reject Emmanuel Faber,"​ the statement continued. Such strong words are likely to add further to the speculation that the group, estimated to be the country's largest beverage producer, could split from the Danone venture to form a rival firm.

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