LeEco boss has resigned as chairman of its main unit; pledges to pay back debts

Jia Yueting, co-founder and head of Le Holdings Co Ltd, also known as LeEco and formerly as LeTV, poses for a photo in front of a logo of his company.
Jia Yueting, co-founder and head of Le Holdings Co Ltd, also known as LeEco and formerly as LeTV, poses for a photo in front of a logo of his company.PHOTO: REUTERS

HONG KONG (REUTERS) - LeEco founder Jia Yueting has resigned as chairman of its main listed unit, Leshi Internet Information & Technology Corp, and will take up the chairman role at LeEco's car unit, the company said.

Mr Jia no longer holds any post at Leshi, the Shenzhen-listed company said in a filing after market close on Thursday. Jia remains its controlling shareholder, it said.

Mr Jia will take up the role of chairman of LeEco's car business, LeEco announced via the official WeChat account of its electric car brand LeSEE.

He resigned from the role of CEO at Leshi last month.

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Mr Jia's role changes come after he issued a public statement where he pledged to take responsibility for LeEco's financial troubles and stressed his commitment to its car business.

Mr Jia, writing in a post on his public WeChat account, apologised for causing worry, pledged to pay back LeEco's debts and to stick to its ambitious electric vehicle project.

"Please give LeEco some time, please give LeEco car some time, we will pay back creditors, suppliers and any other debts," Mr Jia wrote.

Concerns about Jia's position at LeEco were raised after Chinese newspapers reported this week that he was no longer LeEco's legal representative. Additionally, earlier this week US$182 million (S$251.3 million) of assets owned by Mr Jia or the firm were frozen by a court in Shanghai.

The online record of China's national enterprise credit information publicity system does show that in June LeEco Holdings's legal representative changed from Mr Jia to another company executive Wu Meng.

Mr Jia pointed out in the WeChat post that he still has an important role at LeEco.

"I am still LeEco's executive director and largest shareholder, resigning from listed company CEO job and many other important roles is all aimed at making FF91 go to production and hit the market as soon as possible," he said, referring to LeEco's luxury electric car concept under Faraday Future in the US.

While many analysts said LeEco's expensive ambition in electric vehicles caused the biggest financial problem for the Netflix-to-Telsa-like conglomerate, Jia was emphatic in the post that LeEco remains committed to its car strategy, with its"dream to revolutionise the auto industry" remaining "undefeatible".