Caixin
Aug 16, 2017 08:26 AM
BUSINESS & TECH

LeEco’s Listed Arm Reshuffles Top Management in Revival Bid

Sources close to Leshi said the company will soon adopt a new logo. Photo: Visual China.
Sources close to Leshi said the company will soon adopt a new logo. Photo: Visual China.

(Beijing) — Leshi Internet Information & Technology, the main listed entity of embattled Chinese tech group LeEco, revamped its top management as part of efforts to survive the parent company’s severe financial crisis.

In emails sent to employees Tuesday, Leshi CEO Liang Jun announced appointments of 11 senior executives for the Shenzhen-listed video streaming service provider, including senior vice president, chief operating officer and chief content officer.

The management reshuffle came after Leshi elected a new board and named Sun Hongbin, chairman of Sunac China Holdings, as its new chairman in July, replacing departed founder Jia Yueting.

Sun’s Sunac in January agreed to a 15 billion yuan cash infusion into cash-strapped LeEco to become the second largest shareholder of Leshi. The investment also gave Sunac stakes in LeEco’s film production company, Leshi Pictures, and its smart TV unit, Leshi Zhixin.

According to Liang’s email, Zhang Zhao, chief executive officer of Leshi Pictures, will become chief content officer of Leshi, overseeing the company’s global strategy, content production and membership operations. Zhang will retain his position at Leshi Pictures.

Yuan Bin, head of LeEco’s ecosystem user interface and artificial intelligence division, will become Leshi’s chief technology officer. Yuan was also named chairman of Leshi’s cloud computing arm Le Cloud, according to Liang.

Liu Shuqing, Sunac's general manager for risk control and management, will also join Leshi to become senior vice president in charge of human resources, legal and finance.

The management changes reflect Sunac’s expanding influence on LeEco. Sources close to Leshi and Sun said the company will soon adopt a new logo. Sun is considering renaming the company to distance it from the troubled parent.

LeEco has been suffering a cash crunch since last year following years of aggressive investments expanding into smartphones, online video, entertainment and electric cars. The company and founder Jia have had assets frozen and have been sued by multiple creditors for unpaid loans. In July, Jia stepped down from all posts at Leshi to focus on LeEco's electric car business.

A person close to Sun told Caixin in July that since the January investment, Sunac has scrutinized LeEco’s business operations and spending and has gradually taken over LeEco’s finances. Leshi sources told Caixin that the company plans to adjust its business in many respects.

A LeEco creditor told Caixin that it's possible Sun would push to restructure some of LeEco’s assets to improve the business of Leshi.

As the healthiest segment of the LeEco empire, Leshi last month estimated over 630 million yuan loss for the first half of 2017, citing declines in customer loyalty, advertising revenue, terminal sales and membership fees affected by the parent’s debt woes.

Last week, Sunac committed 5.23 billion yuan of Leshi shares as collateral in a bid to raise cash for the company, according to Leshi statement.

Contact reporter Han Wei (weihan@caixin.com)

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