Li Ning says CEO steps down, founder to lead

Updated: 2012-07-05 11:16


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HONG KONG - Chinese sportswear group Li Ning Co Ltd, grappling with a slowdown that has halved its share price in recent months, said on Thursday its chief executive Zhang Zhiyong has stepped down with immediate effect.

The company said founder Li Ning and executive vice-chairman Jin-Goon Kim will lead the firm during the search for a new CEO.

Zhang, who has been with the company for 20 years, had agreed the time was right for new leadership, but would continue as an executive director and adviser, it said.

China's sportswear companies have struggled in recent months as the economy slows, leaving inventories bloated. Several companies, including Li Ning, have said they will cut back on opening new stores after an expansion blitz following the 2008 Beijing Olympics.

Li Ning's shares have shed half their value since a mid-March peak, closing on Wednesday at 4.69 yuan.