Chinese sportswear brand Li Ning confirmed the departure of a senior executive Sunday, the company's fifth high-profile personnel change this year, a sign that Li Ning is facing difficulties with its strategy to challenge the dominance of foreign brands in the domestic market amid slowing sales.
Xu Maochun, chief product officer of Li Ning Co, formally left the company due to "family matters" after Zhang Xiaoyuan, a company spokesman and public relations director, confirmed his resignation to Guangzhou-based Yangcheng Evening News on October 31.
The departures would have no impact on operations, Li Ning said in the first announcement of Xu and Zhang's resignation in October. Recently, the company has kept quiet about the personnel changes.
Li Ning's shares have fluctuated on the Hong Kong Stock Exchange since the company said in May that its chief operating officer, chief marketing officer and head of e-commerce had quit to pursue "personal career development".
Named after the gymnast who lit the flame at the opening ceremony of the Beijing Olympic Games, Li Ning last year tied with adidas for second place in the Chinese market led by Nike.
But the company suffered sales setback since it ambitiously launched last June a plan dubbed "Make" to reposition the brand as a near-direct competitor with global brands.
Li Ning's CEO Zhang Zhiyong admitted in an interview with the Beijing News that the company lost loyal customers when it raised prices.
Adidas is expanding aggressively into Li Ning territory in smaller Chinese cities, and aims to boost its presence from 550 to 1,000 cities by 2015.