China Telecom CEO quits in corruption probe

China Telecom has appointed COO Yang Jie as acting CEO, following the resignation of Chang Xiaobing as CEO.

Chang has been arrested in a corruption investigation led by the Chinese Communist Party’s Central Commission for Discipline Inspection.

Chang was arrested after what the company said were “severe disciplinary violations” – a standard expression used for corruption allegations. No details of the allegations have been revealed.

Chang joined China Telecom as chairman and CEO in August 2015, having previously led China Unicom. He swapped roles with the previous CEO of China Telecom, Wang Xiaochu. At the same time, Xi Guohua retired as CEO of China Mobile and was replaced by government minister Shang Bing.

The South China Morning Post, based in Hong Kong, said that the investigations concerned Chang’s period as CEO of China Unicom.

China Telecom, which has an extensive international wholesale business, is the third largest mobile operator in China.

China Telecom said in a statement that Chang “has confirmed that he has no disagreement with the board and there is no other matter in relation to his resignation that should be brought to the attention of the shareholders of the company”.

Acting CEO Yang is described by China Telecom as “a professor-level senior engineer” who graduated in 1984 from Beijing University of Posts and Telecommunications in radio engineering and obtained a doctorate degree in business administration from the ESC Rennes School of Business in 2008. Earlier in his career he was vice president of China Telecom’s Beijing Research Institute.

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