ZTE confirms new leadership team in wake of US action

06 April 2016 | Alan Burkitt-Gray


ZTE has confirmed that CTO Zhao Xianming is to become chairman of the board of directors and president.

The move, widely rumoured earlier in the week, is seen as a response to the US threat to block ZTE from the international market because of illicit exports to Iran. Washington’s Department of Commerce stopped US companies including Intel, Microsoft and Qualcomm from supplying hardware and software to ZTE for any destination – though the embargo has been lifted until the end of June.

ZTE’s statement makes to reference to the US action, which was accompanied by the leak of a ZTE document dating back to 2011 in which former CEO Shi Lirong approved a strategy for evading US sanctions that had been prepared by vice presidents Guo Xiaoming and Tian Wenguo.

However the company has named no one to the CEO position in place of Shi, though he remains a member of ZTE’s nomination committee; Guo and Tian are not listed in ZTE’s statement. However, ZTE spokesperson Dai Shu told Capacity: "From ZTE's perspective, president equals CEO."

“The experienced, energetic and professional team is committed to driving technological innovations and expanding ZTE’s global business developments,” said the company, which added, in the closest it came to admitting a problem: “The new leadership will strive to comply with the highest business standards.”

Chairman and president Zhao, 50 this year, joined the company in 1998 and became CTO in January 2014.

Other executive vice presidents confirmed by the ZTE board include Wei Zaisheng – who remains CFO – plus Fan Qingfeng, in charge of public relations and legal matters, Zeng Xuezhong, in charge of the terminals division, Xu Huijun, heading R&D, and a number of others.