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Suntech Names Wuxi Executive to Serve as President

March 20 (Bloomberg) -- Suntech Power Holdings Co., the Chinese solar manufacturer seeking financial support from the regional authorities in Wuxi, named an executive from a government-backed development company to serve as its president.

Weiping Zhou previously worked as chairman of Guolian Futures Co., a unit of Wuxi Guolian Development Co. Ltd., which is partly-owned by the government in Wuxi, according to a statement from Suntech released last night. Suntech defaulted on a $541 million bond last week.

The appointment follows speculation from analysts that Suntech may be merged into a state-backed entity to prevent a bankruptcy as bondholders negotiate a restructuring of payments. Suntech is “likely” to file for bankruptcy because its options for refinancing are so limited, Aaron Chew, an analyst at Maxim Group LLC in New York, said March 14.

Zhou was also named to the board along with Philip Fan, who becomes an independent director, according to Suntech, which is based in Wuxi west of Shanghai. The board now has seven members, including four independent directors.

Earlier this month, Suntech ousted its founder Shi Zhengrong as chairman of the board and promoted director Susan Wang to fill the position. Shi controls about 30 percent of Suntech. The company has declined to comment on speculation about its future.

To contact the reporter on this story: Will Wade in New York at wwade4@bloomberg.net

To contact the editor responsible for this story: Reed Landberg at landberg@bloomberg.net

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