PAX Global CFO resigns after analyst briefing row

HONG KONG, Aug 16 (Reuters) - The chief financial officer of China’s PAX Global Technology has resigned, days after a video circulated on social media of him asking a Macquarie analyst to leave an earnings briefing during a heated exchange.

In a statement to the Hong Kong stock exchange late on Tuesday, PAX Global said CFO Chris Lee had stepped down due to personal reasons with immediate effect.

Earlier on Tuesday, public relations firm Financial PR issued a letter that it told Reuters came from Chris Lee that said: “I hereby express my sincere apologies again for my unprofessional behavior on 10th August. No matter what the reasons behind it were, it was unacceptable.”

PAX Global could not be reached for comment to verify the letter was from Lee.

Lee was not immediately reachable for comment.

Financial PR acted for Lee after the video first circulated last week and issued a statement on his behalf then.

In the video, Lee told Macquarie’s Timothy Lam that he had no right to be at the analyst briefing, without elaborating. At the time, Lam was the only analyst covering the stock with a ‘sell’ recommendation, according to Thomson Reuters Eikon data.

Shareholder activists, former analysts and hedge fund managers say there is concern that critics of companies are being muffled in the Asian financial hub amid a broader clamp down on freedom of speech.

Shares of PAX Global have dropped about 8 percent since news emerged of Lam being asked to leave the briefing.

“I would like to express my regrets as to my own behavior during the briefing yesterday and welcome all the diverse points of view and perspectives toward the company and myself,” Lee said in a statement issued by Financial PR after the video of the meeting first circulated. (Reporting by Anne Marie Roantree and Michelle Chen; editing by David Clarke)