​ZTE dumps execs allegedly involved in trade with Iran

ZTE has overhauled its management team and board of directors just weeks after the United States Department of Commerce decided to restrict US equipment exports to ZTE.
Written by Aimee Chanthadavong, Contributor on

Chinese telecommunications hardware manufacturer ZTE has elected a new management team and board of directors.

The company has announced Zhao Xianming, current chief technology officer, was elected as the chairman of the board and the company's new president, replacing Shi Lirong.

Zhang Jianheng and Luan Jubao were elected as the vice chairmen; and Zhu Wuxiang, Luan Jubao, Shi Lirong, Wang Yawen, Richard Xike Zhang, Lü Hongbing, and Bingsheng Teng were also elected as members of the board.

At the same time, Wei Zaisheng, Fan Qingfeng, Zeng Xuezhong, Xu Huijun, Pang Shengqing, Zhang Zhenhui, and Chen Jianzhou were appointed to the role of executive vice presidents, leaving out Tian Wenguo and Qiu Weizhao who held the positions up until the reshuffle.

ZTE added other appointments included Wei Zaisheng to the role of chief financial officer and Cao Wei as secretary to the Board of Directors of ZTE.

According to Reuters, Shi, Tian, and Qiu, the only people dumped from ZTE's management team, were also allegedly the main signatories to documents that showed the company was trying to avoid sanctions against trading with Iran.

However, ZTE spokesman David Dai Shu told Reuters management reshuffle takes place every three years, and the changes made are in line with the company's regular schedule.

In a letter to ZTE staff, Zhao said the new leadership team will be working towards complying with the company's highest business standards.

"We will be taking extra measures to ensure that legal compliance and anti-corruption processes eliminate any possibility of non-compliance," he said.

ZTE was slapped with export restrictions on US products by the United States Department of Commerce early last month following reports the company was selling equipment to Iran.

Along with ZTE, the export restrictions also apply to two Chinese affiliates -- ZTE Kangxun Telecommunications and Beijing 8-Star -- as well as Iranian company ZTE Parsian.

The US Department of Commerce Bureau of Industry and Security explained that despite a deal reached between Iran and the United States, China, the United Kingdom, Germany, France, and Russia in 2015 to lift sanctions in return for Iran not developing a nuclear weapon, its export controls over Iran were not amended.

"The parameters announced on April 2, 2015, for a Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPOA) by the P5+1 and Iran do not relieve, suspend, or terminate any of the export and other controls in the Export Administration Regulations (EAR) pertaining to Iran or any other country," the BIS said on its website.

"The parameters provide a path for sanctions on Iran to be suspended and eventually terminated in exchange for IAEA [International Atomic Energy Agency]-verified implementation by Iran of its key nuclear commitments.

"As of today and until further notice, all EAR controls pertaining to Iran remain in place, and will continue to be vigorously enforced."

At the time, the Chinese Foreign Ministry said it opposed the decision.

"We hope the US stops this erroneous action, and avoids damaging Sino-US trade cooperation and bilateral relations." Chinese Foreign Ministry spokesperson Hong Lei said.

This is not the first time that ZTE has found itself in trouble after doing business in Iran. Following a 2012 investigation by the FBI and Commerce Department, among others, Cisco ended its sales partnership with ZTE. At the time, ZTE was alleged to have set up a network of sub-companies to illegally export products from Microsoft, HP, Oracle, Dell, Cisco, and Symantec to Iran.

In its October 2012 earnings report, ZTE posted a $317 million third-quarter loss compared to a $47 million profit at the same time a year prior. The company said in its earnings that it was "adversely affected" by the US investigations.

Later in 2012, fellow Chinese telco hardware manufacturer Huawei was accused of attempting to supply embargoed Hewlett-Packard equipment to an Iranian mobile network operator.

ZTE also found itself embroiled in a Mongolian corruption probe in 2013 following the arrest of a Mongolian tax official who handled ZTE's tax affairs.

NEC Australia reshuffles executive team

NEC Australia has announced changes to its leadership team that will see Mark Barber, member of the NEC Australia board, assume the role as chief operating office.

As part of the move, NEC Australia's current managing director Tetsuro Akagi has been promoted to chief executive officer of NEC Asia Pacific and senior vice president of NEC Corporation.

NEC Australia also announced the appointment of D'wayne Mitchell to the role of direct of IT Solutions, and Andy Hurt to the director of communication solutions role.

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