ZTE replaced three of its most senior executives, including president and CEO Shi Lirong, in the wake of its troubles in the US for violating trade rules.
The announcement follows widespread speculation over the weekend of a management reshuffle, and sees former CTO Zhao Xianming (pictured) given an apparent new role as combined chairman and president of the company, replacing Lirong, effective immediately.
It is not immediately clear whether the CEO role will be filled separately.
Lirong, who had served as head of the company since 2010, is joined by high profile executive vice presidents, Tian Wenguo and Qui Weizhao, in being dropped from the company’s top management.
All three executives were reportedly named in an internal document from 2011 obtained by the US government which revealed ZTE’s plans to evade US export rules.
ZTE was then slammed with tough export restrictions last month for breaching controls on the export of US technology to Iran, and other countries, following the investigation.
Tensions have since eased slightly, with the US Department of Commerce and the Chinese company reaching an agreement that could see the easing of sanctions until the end of June, a deal which Wall Street Journal claimed would only happen if executives involved in the wrongdoing were removed from management roles.
ZTE however claimed to Reuters that today’s management reshuffle is routine, occurring every three years, with the changes in line with the company’s regular schedule. ZTE said the new tenures will run until end-March 2019.
In a statement, Xianming said “the situation is being resolved”, as he seemingly addressed the situation in the US.
“You may have read various articles in the media about ZTE recently. I can assure you that we have been transparent and proactive in addressing any issues… At this juncture, we must take time to rethink. We will be taking extra measures to ensure that legal compliance and anti-corruption processes eliminate any possibility of non-compliance. We will put practical measures in place to rebuild our operational philosophy and turn the challenges into opportunities.”
He continued: “These special circumstances have tested us, but the new leadership is confident that with teamwork, determination and courage we will charter new journeys and see new horizons.”
In total, ZTE appointed seven executive vice presidents, with the new management team effective from today.