Chang Xiaobing, CEO of state-owned telecoms giant China Telecom, resigned after becoming the latest Chinese executive to go missing amid a nationwide crackdown on corruption led by the government.
President and Chief Operating Officer Yang Jie will take on the role of CEO until the board of directors comes to an agreement on an official appointment, according to Bloomberg News.
Beijing-based independent magazine Caijing reported on Sunday that Xiaobing was “lost” and uncontactable via mobile phone. The report said he had been “taken away because of serious disciplinary review” and features a picture claiming to show his office has been sealed.
A separate article from the Thomson Reuters Trust reports that China’s Central Commission for Discipline Inspection says in a statement on its website that Xiaobing is “suspected of serious violation of discipline.”
Chinese President Xi Jinping is leading a wide-ranging crackdown on “graft” and corruption in all areas of Chinese life. As part of that, many top Chinese executives have been going “missing” — taken away swiftly and unexpectedly by authorities to answer questions.
Under President Xi Jinping, the anti-corruption investigations have involved more than 100,000 officials.
The most high-profile person to date has been Guo Guangchang, the Chinese investment billionaire known as “China’s Warren Buffett.” His investment group, Fosun, owns Club Med and Cirque du Soleil among others.
Xiaobing was named CEO and chairman of China Telecom in September, joining from rival China Unicom. Caijing reports that the investigation is believed to relate to Xiaobing’s time at China Unicom.
China Telecom is the biggest fixed-line phone provider and the third-biggest mobile provider in China.