China’s HNA Group has hired Israel Hernandez, who was senior advisor to Commerce Secretary Wilbur Ross, as head of international corporate affairs. Ross is President Trump's point man in the threat to impose tariffs on China.
One-time Brunswick Group executive Hernandez joined the Commerce Dept. in 2005 and exited in December as Acting Undersecretary of International Trade. Earlier, he served in the Bush II White House.
HNA, which has more than $100B in 2017 revenues from interests in travel/tourism, financial services and logistics, has been struggling under a heavy debt load related to its $40B global acquisition spree.
China’s government has put pressure on HNA to scale back its overseas business, which accounts for more than half of its revenues, to reduce debt.
The conglomerate announced this month the sale of its 25 percent stake in Hilton Worldwide Holdings, which is expected to result in a $6.5B windfall.
Hernandez, who also did stints at TPG Capital, Facebook and Afero, will report to HNA CEO Adam Tan.
Sard Verbinnen & Co. represents HNA.