Shareholders in Spain’s NH Hotel Group have ousted four board members as well as CEO Federico J. Gonzales Tejera over a potential conflict of interest.

More than half of the shareholders fought the boardroom battle due to NH’s largest shareholder, Chinese conglomerate HNA, creating a conflict of interest when it acquired rival firm Carlson Rezidor earlier this year.

The four HNA-appointed board members which include chairman Charles Mobus have been replaced by Alfredo Fernández Agras who will become chair of the board of directors and Beatriz Puente, Ramón Aragonés and Rufino Peréz who have been nominated as executive managing directors.

A CEO is yet to be named but in a statement NH praised outgoing CEO Tejera for “making great strides” to improve the brand and “leaves the group in a much better place then when he joined”.

In April, through its tourism and hospitality arm HNA acquired all of Carlson Hotels including its 51 per cent majority stake in Rezidor Hotel Group.

Commenting on HNA NH said: “The Board is willing to work with HNA to resolve the conflict of interest created by the Carlson Rezidor transaction and, if appropriate, will look for the mechanism to welcome them back to the Board.

“We will explore any opportunities that are in the best interest of all shareholders. The current focus is to make NH Hotel Group stand robust as an independent entity whilst achieving best in class corporate governance practices.”

Also announced at the shareholder meeting were plans to sell the New York Jolly Madison Towers hotel before the end of 2016 and to “aggressively” pursue growth opportunities.

NH added: “The Board has given a clear mandate and guidelines to the management team to act in the most investor friendly way. The Board is there to ensure value is maximised for all stakeholders. The Board is committed to seeing through the current growth strategy and improvements in efficiency that will enhance cash flow generation and allow for remuneration of shareholders.”

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