The appointment of Zhou comes on the back of rumors that a takeover of Suntech by the Wuxi Government is imminent, after it defaulted on a US$541 million bond last Friday.
According to a statement released by Suntech last night, Zhou will both manage business operations, and work alongside CEO, David King and the board of directors "to define the strategic direction of the Company."
Meanwhile, Philip Fan, an independent non-executive director of China Everbright International Ltd, HKC (Holdings), Hysan Development Co., First Pacific Co., Zhuhai Zhongfu Enterprise Co. Ltd and the Goodman Group, has been appointed an independent director to Suntechs board of directors.
"We are confident that their knowledge and expertise will be invaluable as we navigate near-term challenges and realize Suntech’s long-term potential in the solar industry," stated new board chairwoman, Susan Wang.
On March 14, U.S.-based Maxim Group wrote in an industry note that with $2.1billion in additional debt and "steep cash needs," Suntech is "technically insolvent."
Speculation that Suntech will file for insolvency has been rife for the past couple of weeks, ahead of the March 15 bond repayment deadline; and after founder and former CEO, Zhengrong Shi was kicked out of his executive chair position and replaced by Susan Wang on March 4, and after the company announced the closure of its photovoltaic module operations in Arizona, the U.S.