China Telecom CEO resigns after detention in corruption probe

04 Jan 2016

China Telecom chairman and CEO Chang Xiaobing resigned after being linked to the government’s expanding anti-graft probe.

Effective December 30, president and chief operating officer Yang Jie has taken on Chang’s duties and acted as interim CEO until a final appointment is made by the company’s board, China Telecom said Wednesday in a filing.

China Telecom, which is the country’s third largest mobile carrier by subscribers, said there was “no other matter in relation to his resignation that should be brought to the attention” of shareholders.

The resignation came days after Chang was being detained by the Central Commission for Discipline Inspection, the country’s top anticorruption agency.

Chang was detained on suspicion of “severe disciplinary violations,” according to a one-sentence statement posted on the regulator’s website on December 27.

Chang’s detention came amid an expanding scrutiny of top executives at a range of stated-owned companies, from major oil companies to automotive manufacturers. The wave of investigations into state-owned companies is part of President Xi Jinping’s three-year clampdown on official graft in China.

Chang, 58, was formerly chairman of the country’s second-largest mobile operator, China Unicom. He had assumed the top post at China Telecom in August, as part of a leadership reshuffle in the telecom industry. At both state-owned companies, he held the key post of Communist Party secretary.

Chang is the highest-ranking telecom executive involved in a serious probe since former China Mobile vice chairman Zhang Chunjiang, whom was reported in 2011 as drawing a suspended death sentence for taking bribes.

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