Chairman Peng out at LDK Solar

Xiaofeng Peng, the 39-year-old founder of LDK Solar, has “resigned” as the company's chairman, as the insolvent Chinese PV giant tries to restructure its way back to health.

Effective immediately, Peng has been replaced as chairman by Xingxue Tong, a veteran of China’s solar sector who first worked for LDK in 2007, and who took the reins from Peng as LDK’s president and chief executive in 2012.

Tong will act as chairman on an interim basis, with LDK to establish a search committee to find a new permanent chairman.

The resignation of Peng – who will be retained by LDK as a “senior consultant” – is a significant milestone in the history of the company and indeed China’s solar industry.

LDK remains the world’s largest maker of PV wafers, even it has fallen on hard times over the past few years – crushed by its debt load and its failure to pull off a diversification strategy that included forcefully pushing both upstream and downstream in the PV supply chain.

Reportedly nicknamed “Light”, and at one time listed as one of Forbes Magazine’s “Young Billionaires”, Peng has seen the American Depository Shares of the company he founded fall from a peak of $68.90 in late 2007 to their current price of $0.40 – a drop of more than 99%.

The trading of LDK’s AD shares has been suspended on the New York Stock Exchange since March, following the company’s inability to pay its bondholders earlier this year and subsequent plunge into insolvency.

LDK announced Peng’s resignation after the close of trading in New York on Friday.

LDK also announced that it has filed the petition “commencing its restructuring proceedings” in the Grand Court of the Cayman Islands, with the first hearing slated for 12 September.