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LeEco Replaces CEO, Massive Job Cuts On the Horizon

Variety logo Variety 5/21/2017 Janko Roettgers
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Leshi Internet Information & Technology Corp., the Chinese consumer electronics company better known under its brand name LeEco, has replaced its founding CEO Jia Yueting, Reuters reported Saturday morning. Separate news stories out of China indicate that LeEco may be getting ready for massive job cuts, which could also impact its struggling U.S. operations.

Jia will remain chairman of Leishi, according to Reuters. The CEO post is being taken over by Liang Jun, a former Lenovo executive who has been with the company for five years. As part of the leadership change, LeEco also replaced CFO Yang Lijie with its China CFO Zhang Wei.

And the change at the helm may not be the last we hear about struggles at LeEco. The China Business Journal reported earlier this week that LeEco is preparing for massive job cuts across many of its businesses. Sports-focused LeSports could lay off up to 70 percent of its staff, according to the report. LeEco’s U.S. subsidiary will let go of 30 percent of its staff, according to that report.

Leshi was founded more than a decade ago as a video streaming service in China, and has since expanded to produce and sell TVs and phones. It is just one part of LeEco’s sprawling family of corporate entities, but it has basically been the cash cow to finance other businesses. These include companies focusing on electric cars, sports, a movie studio and an ambitious international expansion.

Last year, LeEco made a big splash to expand into the U.S. The company has since struggled with cash constraints, which also forced it to cancel the planned acquisition of U.S. TV maker Vizio. LeEco has also lost a number of U.S. executives over the past few months, and has struggled to adapt to a retail-focused consumer electronics landscape that’s very different from the company’s home market.

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