Being in charge of a large Chinese company or investment firm might be one of the most dangerous jobs out there at the moment.
On Wednesday, 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.
A series of high-profile executives have gone missing in recent months, in the wake of China’s stock market crash. As many as 36 companies reported executives missing between January and September this year, according to a Bloomberg report.
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.
What is clear is his fate isn’t unique. Here’s a (non-exhaustive) list of some of the most high-profile and important execs who have gone missing at one point or another:
- In December, 48-year-old Guo Guangchang, known as “China’s Warren Buffett” and the head of China’s Fosun Group, went missing. Guo is the most high-profile, worth an estimated $6.9 billion (£4.5 billion). His investment group, Fosun, owns Club Med and Cirque du Soleil among others. He reappeared in the US after about a week spent out of contact.
- Yim Fung, Chairman and CEO of Hong Kong-listed Guotai Junan International Holdings, went missing in November. Guotai shares tumbled 12% when his disappearance was announced.
- Two senior executives, Chen Jun and Yan Jianlin, of China’s Citic Securities — the firm at the centre of a government probe into China’s stock-market rout — disappeared in November. Their involvement in the probe brings to at least 10 the number of Citic Securities executives implicated in the investigations to determine the causes of the stock plunge that wiped out $5 trillion of market value.
- Zhang Yun, president of the Agricultural Bank of China, one of China’s four massive, state-owned banks, was detained in October as part of a corruption probe. The bank is ranked as the world’s third-largest bank with $2.7 trillion in assets, according to SNL Financial.
- Poon Ho Man, chief executive of China Aircraft Leasing Group resigned by letter while on holiday in June and hasn’t been in contact since.
- Xu Jun, chairman of department-store operator Ningbo Zhongbai, disappeared and couldn’t answer questions over his personal connection with hedge-fund manager Xu Xiang, who is under investigation for alleged insider trading according, according to the official Xinhua news agency.