ZTE ‘to replace three top executives’ after US sanctions

04 April 2016 | Alan Burkitt-Gray


Equipment vendor ZTE is expected to appoint CTO Zhao Xianming as chairman and CEO on Tuesday, in a reshuffle of top management that will see the current CEO and two vice presidents step down from the company.

Reports say that CEO Shi Lirong plus vice presidents Tian Wenguo and Qiu Weizhao will step down, and that the CTO will take the top position. 


All three departures are people named in a ZTE document – revealed by the US – about the company’s moves to get round US export restrictions to Iran. The document leaked by the US was signed by Tian and Guo in 2011 and it bore Shi’s name as having approved it.

The US Department of Commerce listed ZTE and three other related entities as being subject to its sanctions: Beijing 8 Star International Co, based in the Chinese capital, Shenzhen-based ZTE Kangxun Telecommunications, and Tehran-based ZTE Parsian.

All four are covered by the US Export Administration Regulations (EAR) and the DoC says there is a “presumption of denial2 of any request for an export licence from the US authorities.

Since then the US relaxed the sanctions – which affect any US company supplying technology to any part of ZTE, even Microsoft Office software for use in headquarters operations. In late March the US said the sanctions would be lifted until the end of June while negotiations continued.

Shi has been CEO of ZTE since 2010. Company spokesman David Dai Shu, speaking to Reuters on Monday, said ZTE reshuffles management every three years.

ZTE’s shares are listed on the Hong Kong and Shenzhen exchanges, but trading has been suspended since the scandal broke.