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Never Defeated | Two Women’s Epic Stories of Struggle and Success in Communist China

January 29, 2020 @ 6:30 pm - 8:00 pm

Lan YAN and Yan MEI are two of the most influential businesswomen in China—the former heads Lazard’s operations in Greater China, and the latter oversees Brunswick Group’s advisory work in China. Both hailing from prominent families, they have experienced firsthand the turmoil of Communist China’s history at the political center.

YAN, the daughter of Chairman Mao’s Russian translator and granddaughter of a wartime Communist spy, grew up in the company of the likes of Zhou Enlai and Deng Xiaoping. When the Cultural Revolution swept the country, her father and grandfather were imprisoned, and her mother was forced out of Beijing, leaving a 10-year-old Yan to survive on her own.

MEI, the daughter of China’s one-time propaganda tsar, who was also imprisoned during the Cultural Revolution, grew up surrounded by leaders and their children as well. She shares a similar story of struggle and success with Yan, whose new memoir, House of Yan: A Family at the Heart of a Century in Chinese History, describes her family’s hardship in riveting detail.

The two business titans will share their stories and secrets with Dorinda Elliott, China Institute director of programs, who covered China for Newsweek during the late 1980s.

Speakers’ Bios

Lan YAN is Vice Chairman of Investment Banking / Chairman and CEO of Greater China. She leads the Lazard Greater China team in cooperation with the Lazard global network to advise in cross-border M&A transactions involving Chinese companies.

Lan Yan joined Gide Loyrette Nouel (a French international firm) in Paris in 1991, became partner on 1998, then Chief Representative of GLN Beijing office. She has rich experience on foreign companies’ investment in China.

Yan is the board director of CarrefourGroup. She is the independent board member in Château de Versailles since Nov 2018. She is member of International advisory board of HEC Paris, member of the Seoul International Business Advisory Council(SIBAC). Yan is Honorary Consul of the Principality of Monaco in Beijing. She was granted Chevalier de la Légion d’Honneur(France) and Chevalier dans l’Ordre de Saint-Charles(Monaco). Yan has a PhD in Law from Graduate Institute of International Studies,Geneva, and an L.L.M in International Law from Law School of Beijing University.

In2017, Yan published her first book, chezles Yan, in French, and awarded by Prix SimoneVeil inFrance. The English translation, The House of Yan: a family at the heart of a Century of Chinese history, will be published in January 2020.

Yan MEI is the Senior Partner, Chair of China, at Brunswick Group. After a distinguished career serving major international media companies for more than twenty years, Mei joined Brunswick Group in 2013. As Senior Partner and Chair of China, she oversees Brunswick’s China business and acts as a counselor to senior executives.

Mei advises major global corporations with a particular focus on public affairs, government engagement, mergers & acquisitions, and corporate reputation management as well as crisis and issues management. She provides counsel to senior management of foreign companies as they position their organizations in China and leaders of Chinese companies going global.

Mei joined Brunswick from Viacom International Media Networks, where she was Managing Director of Greater China and Chief Representative of Viacom Asia. Previously, Mei held a series of China-based senior positions at Turner International Asia Pacific, News Corp., and its STAR Group.

Mei worked as a journalist for ITN and CNN for more than a decade, winning three Emmy Awards in that time.

In addition to her role at Brunswick, she serves as a senior advisor at global investment firm KKR, sits on the board of French global automotive supplier Faurecia.

Today, she is a regular speaker at preeminent events, including the Hamburg Summit and POWER Shanghai. She is a Vice-Chair of the board of The Golden Bridges Foundation and the China Women’s Club. Born in Beijing, Mei holds two Master’s degrees in International Relations and Political Science from Columbia University, New York, and a Master in Advanced Russian Area Studies from Hunter College at the City University of New York. She also holds a Bachelor of Arts degree in Russian Language and Literature from Beijing Normal University.

Dorinda (Dinda) Elliott is SVP, Director of Programs and the Center for Business, at the China Institute, where she runs all the public and private programming, including speakers programs, the Global Council, and the annual Executive Summit. Before joining China Institute in July, Elliott worked for three years as editorial and communications director at the Paulson Institute, founded by Hank Paulson, which promotes U.S.-China relations and sustainable growth in both countries.


January 29, 2020
6:30 pm - 8:00 pm
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