PacificNet's (PACT.PK) Chief Financial Officer today unexpectedly left the company, surprising the financial markets and causing PacificNet shares to tumble nearly 10%, closing at US$5.93.
According to a filing with the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission, the company, whose stock prices appear to ride the waves of its incessant press releases, has not said why the former CFO, Joseph Levinson, left the company.
Levinson's departure is puzzling, as a general consensus was that he was a capable professional and that PacificNet was fortunate to have him. Levinson, a former manager at the New York office of Deloitte and Touche, was widely regarded as one of the most sophisticated executives serving as CFO among publicly-listed companies in China. According to company press releases Levinson is fluent in Mandarin and his experience with publicly-traded Chinese companies dates back more than 10 years. According to recent press releases by PacificNet, Levinson had successfully led the company through an arduous SEC inquiry process, getting the company's S-1 effective in early December 2006.
Later in the afternoon on Friday, PacificNet appeared to try to pacify the markets by hurriedly announcing the appointment of Daniel Lui, a Hong Kong-born Canadian Chartered accountant. But this replacement appeared to do little to soothe the markets apparently disappointed at Levinson's departure. Heavy selling in PacificNet shares continued.
Tony Tong, Chairman and CEO of PacificNet, did not make mention of Levinson's departure in a carefully worded press release where he said, "We are very pleased to have someone of Daniel's caliber and experience joining us. Daniel has extensive experience working in China and Hong Kong."