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Aston Villa FC Owner Dr. Tony Jiantong Xia is the Chairman/CEO and owner of Recon Group, a privately owned holding company that owns the controlling interest in five publicly listed companies on the Hong Kong and Chinese stock exchanges and many other private companies employing 35,000 people in 75 countries.
Recon Group operates in six core business sectors including IT Infrastructure and Services for Smart Cities, Health & Agriculture, New Energy & Smart Transportation, Engineering & Design, Recon Capital including financial services and Sports, Leisure & Tourism. It has taken advantage of China’s economic growth over the last two decades as the Government has carried out a programme of moving 500 million people from rural to urban living.
Dr Xia decided to buy an iconic football club in England as the cornerstone of his Sports, Leisure and Tourism Division. He became a fan of Aston Villa many years ago and is delighted at the opportunity to become the new owner.
Dr Xia’s immediate objective is to return Aston Villa to the Premier League and then to have the Club finish in the top six, bringing European football back to Villa Park.
He plans to make Aston Villa the most famous football club in China.
Jason Levien is one of the newest co-owners of Swansea City in the Premier League. Jason is also the Managing General Owner of the Major League Soccer club D.C. United and the former CEO of the NBA’s Memphis Grizzlies.
He played a key role in assembling a consortium to buy the Philadelphia 76ers in a $280m deal, including current Crystal Palace shareholder Josh Harris and Hollywood star Will Smith.
Also involved in that deal was Indonesian Erick Thohir who Levien then combined with to take a 60% control in DC United, with Levien serving as CEO and playing a major role in negotiations over a new $300m stadium for the franchise who have enjoyed their most successful period on the field in the subsequent years.
Levien went onto sell his stake in the Sixers to form part of a 20-strong partnership to buy out the Memphis Grizzlies, pop star Justin Timberlake also involved, also appointed CEO and ensuring recognition as “the most successful sports franchise in North America” from ESPN while also overseeing the Grizzlies’ first season of profitability before leaving his post last year.
Thohir and Levien combined with long-term business partner Steve Kaplan in a bid to take a 20% stake in the Minnesota Timberwolves late last year as part of a reported full take-over at a later date.
Now in its ninth year, The Leaders Sport Business Summit in London will see the industry’s biggest names on stage and cutting edge content centred on brand excellence, digital pioneers, sports governance, commercial innovation and new to 2016, eSports. With 1,800 director level executives across 55+ sports and over 50 countries it is the most senior and international sports business summit in the world. See what happened in London in 2015.