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AMC Theatres CEO Adam Aron will become chairman of the theatrical giant’s board of directors, taking on the new responsibilities in the wake of the resignation of Wanda executives Lin Zhang and Mao Jun (John) Zeng.
With Aron serving as both chairman and CEO, AMC has named Philip Lader the company’s lead independent director.
Aron has been CEO and president of AMC since 2016, having previously served as CEO of the Philadelphia 76ers and Starwood Hotels.
Zeng and Zhang resigned after Wanda sold almost all of its shares in AMC earlier this year. It had been since 2012 been the company’s controlling shareholder.
However, the company also found a surprising lifeline in the form of retail traders that are active on online platforms like Reddit and TikTok. These traders have embraced AMC as a “memestock,” propelling its stock price to all time highs and allowing the company to raise hundreds of millions of dollars through stock sales.
The company has embraced the strategy, launching a retail trader-focused investor website (and offering shareholders free popcorn), and Aron himself has leaned into it as well, sharing memes on Twitter, and donating to a gorilla charity that is a favorite of the “Apes,” as AMC’s retail traders call themselves.
The company is already putting its memestock money to use, taking over the leases of two popular Los Angeles area movie theaters that had been operated by Pacific Theatres: The Grove in Los Angeles and The Americana at Brand in Glendale. It is also in talks to potentially take over some other theaters that had been operated by Pacific.
“First, I want to express my deepest and sincerest thanks to Lin Zhang and Mao Jun Zeng for their contributions to AMC’s success and for their many years of service as members of AMC’s board of directors,” Aron said in a statement. “Their support, guidance and true friendship has been extremely important to me. Additionally, I am grateful to the full AMC board for their confidence in my continuing leadership. And it goes without saying that I eagerly look forward to working with Phil Lader in his new role as Lead Director of the Board, as well as with all of our distinguished and talented board members.”
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