ZTE CTO Becomes New Boss in Reshuffle

ZTE has confirmed the appointment of Zhao Xianming as chairman and president (the job title used by the Chinese vendor to identify the CEO) during a management reshuffle reportedly aimed at appeasing US authorities.

Currently the chief technology officer of ZTE, Zhao Xianming replaces Shi Lirong, who is stepping down amid a trade dispute with the US.

The US Commerce Department slapped ZTE Corp. (Shenzhen: 000063; Hong Kong: 0763) with an export ban last month after accusing the company of violating sanctions imposed on Iran. According to a report earlier this week from the Wall Street Journal, three senior ZTE executives, including Shi Lirong, are being forced to quit as part of a settlement with US authorities that led to a temporary lifting of the ban in late March. (See ZTE CEO to Quit in US Export-Ban Dispute, US Lifts ZTE Export Ban – Report, ZTE: What On Earth Were They Thinking? and ZTE Faces Trade Restrictions Over Iran Links.)

Those other ZTE employees are executive vice presidents Tian Wenguo and Qiu Weizhao, who were allegedly involved in ZTE plans to set up "shell companies" allowing the vendor to continue trading with Iran while evading US authorities.

Trading in ZTE shares has been suspended since news of the ban first broke, and the company has also delayed the publication of its annual results for 2015. Originally set to appear in March, those are now due to be released this week.

Besides appointing Zhao Xianming as chairman and president, ZTE has also named another seven individuals as executive vice presidents.

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Management reshuffles reportedly occur every few years at ZTE, but the latest seems designed to get the vendor's business firmly back on track.

The export ban would have made it hard for ZTE to obtain hardware and software from US suppliers including IBM Corp. (NYSE: IBM), Intel Corp. (Nasdaq: INTC), Microsoft Corp. (Nasdaq: MSFT) and Qualcomm Inc. (Nasdaq: QCOM).

ZTE expects net profit to have risen by 43.5% in 2015, to 3.78 billion Chinese yuan ($584 million), with sales rising by 23.8%, to RMB100.8 billion ($15.6 billion).

— Iain Morris, Circle me on Google+ Follow me on TwitterVisit my LinkedIn profile, News Editor, Light Reading

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