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Bruno Wu Returns to Role of Chairman of Ideanomics

Bruno Wu. Courtesy photo (we-ha.com file photo)

Ideanomics, which is planning to open its global center for technology and innovation, Fintech Village, in West Hartford, has elevated Alfred ‘Alf’ Poor to the role of CEO, and announced Thursday that Dr. Bruno Wu will return as chairman of the company.

The former UConn West Hartford campus, a 58-acre parcel of land that includes five buildings, many trees, ponds, bridges, and ball fields, is now owned by Ideanomics and will become home to Fintech Village. Photo credit: Ronni Newton (we-ha.com file photo) ….

By Ronni Newton

Ideanomics, owner of the former UConn campus property in West Hartford, announced several key changes to its management team Thursday, including the return of Dr. Bruno Wu as chairman.

Wu, who as chairman was instrumental in the purchase of the campus and has previously expressed his excitement about making Fintech Village a key part of the West Hartford community, had stepped down as chairman of Ideanomics while serving as vice chairman and secretary general of the National Committee for China U.S. Relations.

Alfred “Alf” Poor, who has been chief operating officer of Ideanomics, has been name the company’s CEO. Poor is also the divisional president of Fintech Village, the global technology and innovation hub slated to open in West Hartford.

“I’m looking forward to being officially back as the chairman, with the company entering an important phase for employees and shareholders alike,” Wu said in a statement. “After more than a year of transformation and buildup, we are well-positioned for growth and profitability on the back of our previously announced deals and, with a healthy pipeline of meaningful deals, it’s an exciting time for the Company.”

“We’re delighted to welcome Bruno back,” Poor said in a statement. “Having him with us full-time is a tremendous boost for the company as his tenacity, vision, and breadth of relationships worldwide are a key dynamic of the organization. We’d also like to say thank you to Brett, Evan, and Uwe as they move onto other opportunities.”

According to a news release issued by Ideanomics on Thursday, executives Brett McGonegal, Evan Kalimtgis, and Uwe von Parpart are “leaving the company to pursue other interests.”

While there has been little visible activity since Ideanomics purchased the campus last fall, on Dec. 20, Poor sent a letter to property owners abutting the campus informing them of the nature of activity that will soon be taking place on the property.

“Right now we are working on the initial stages of mapping out our plans, which will feature robust engagement with the West Hartford community at large, our neighbors like you, and your local officials,” Poor said in the letter.

The preliminary work, Poor said in his letter, “will allow us to design effective wetlands restoration/enhancement, stormwater management and landscape planning systems for the site – all important to preserving the parklike setting for enjoyment by the community.”

Last month the company announced that it has been working behind the scenes to develop partnerships for Fintech Village.

Ideanomics has not yet submitted plans to the Town of West Hartford for the overall project, but did receive a wetlands permit in early December to begin testing the soil and groundwater conditions and conducting a geotechnical evaluation of the site.

Ideanomics is also responsible for remediation of the polychlorinated biphenyls (PCBs) that were discovered in the buildings and soil.

Three of the buildings – the former undergraduate building, library, and School of Social Work – were all built in the same era, and like many buildings constructed from the 1950s to 1970s have PCBs in the building materials. Those three buildings remain surrounded by a six-foot high chain link fence in part to keep the public separated from the contaminants. The other two buildings on the campus were constructed after PCBs were banned and are not impacted.

Ideanomics, formerly known as Seven Stars Cloud Group, announced its intentions to purchase the bucolic 58-acre former UConn West Hartford campus, which includes five buildings, in July 2018, and closed on the $5.2 million deal on Oct. 10.

In a recap of results from its 2018 year-end meeting with shareholders in Beijing, China, Ideanomics reported confidence in its position for growth and value in the fintech marketplace.

“We have been successfully transforming our business and cleaning up our organizational structure, such that our new fintech business will derive revenue and profitability that will more accurately reflect the value for shareholders. Additionally, we have begun to divest non-fintech entities in the organization, some through possible sale and others through possible closure, that will deliver improved transparency to the shareholder community and enable the management team to focus on our core fintech activities. The result will be a leaner organization that is better able to execute on its objectives and will scale more efficiently in the future,” the release states.

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