RPT-UPDATE 1-Suntech founder calls his removal as chairman 'invalid'

Tue Mar 5, 2013 8:48pm EST

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LOS ANGELES, March 5 (Reuters) - Suntech Power Holdings Co Ltd founder Zhengrong Shi on Tuesday said his removal from the struggling solar panel maker's executive chairman post by the board of directors a day earlier was "invalid and of no effect."

"I am fully committed to continuing to serve the company as executive chairman to the best of my ability and to guide it through these difficult times," Shi said in a statement.

On Monday, Wuxi, China-based Suntech issued a statement naming Susan Wang, a former chief financial officer of Solectron Corp, as chairman of the board. It said Shi would remain a director of the company.

For the last two years, Suntech and others in the solar industry have been grappling with a global glut of solar panels that has sent prices into a tailspin and hammered their once high-flying stocks. Suntech shares, which peaked at $90 in 2008, closed at $1.21 Tuesday on the New York Stock Exchange.

Suntech, among the largest of the world's solar panel manufacturers, said late last year that it was defrauded by a partner in a solar development fund, and as a result would reduce its 2010 net income by between $60 million and $80 million. The cash-strapped company is also weighing options to cover a $541 million convertible bond due this year.

Suntech officials could not immediately be reached for comment.

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