Luckin Coffee names new chairman and CEO after founder ousted

Luckin Coffee has named Jinyi Guo as chairman and CEO as the Chinese chain tries to move past an accounting scandal that nearly brought it down.

Guo, a director and former acting CEO, replaces founder and former chairman Charles Zhengyao Lu, who was voted out by shareholders, the company said Monday in a statement. Yang Cha, Feng Liu, Jie Yang and Ying Zeng were also appointed as independent directors, while David Hui Li, Erhai Liu and Sean Shao left the board following an extraordinary general meeting July 5 and board meeting July 12.

Charles Zhengyao Lu

While shareholders voted to remove Lu and the other three directors, some investors cried foul because Lu had nominated two of the new members to the board, potentially giving him ongoing influence at the company, according to the Wall Street Journal.

Lu has come under fire amid an accounting scandal that has already led to the firing of Luckin’s CEO and made its stock nearly worthless. Chinese and U.S. regulators have been investigating the company over fabricated transactions that inflated net sales by about US$300 million last year.

The scandal has rocked the Xiamen-based company once considered among China’s brightest growth stories, sending the US-listed stock plunging 93 per cent this year. The situation is also a black eye for China Inc as the US Congress moves closer to passing legislation that could bar Chinese companies from trading on US stock exchanges.


CEO dismissed

In May, Luckin Coffee dismissed CEO Jenny Zhiya Qian, COO Jian Liu and some employees who reported to them, after uncovering the scheme that funnelled funds to the company from several third parties with links to the participants. The board said it fired the executives based on evidence showing their participation in the false transactions.

Lu became a billionaire after his fast-growing Chinese chain went public in the US, but much of his wealth was wiped out by the plunge in Luckin’s stock. Lu last month resigned as chairman of Car Inc, China’s biggest rental-car fleet operator, as scrutiny increased over Luckin and the accounting scandal.For more articles like this, please visit us at bloomberg.com

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