SINGAPORE, Jan 22 (Reuters) - Founder Securities Co Ltd , a joint venture partner of Swiss bank Credit Suisse AG, said it has appointed an interim chairman because it lost contact with incumbent Lei Jie after he applied for sick leave.
"The company is unable to reach Lei Jie and that is expected to cause a certain degree of impact to the company's internal operations," Founder said.
President He Qicong will act as chairman until Lei resumes his duties or the board decides whether to pick a replacement, the brokerage said in a Chinese-language filing on the Shanghai stock exchange.
The company has been unable to reach Lei since Jan 19.
Earlier on Thursday Founder said it expected net profit in 2014 to rise 50-100 percent from 1.1 billion yuan ($177.18 million) the previous year, as its core financial business expands.
The firm remains in dispute with Beijing Zenith Holding Ltd, its second-largest shareholder, which has led to a court freezing 1.77 billion yuan in its bank accounts, a move described by Founder Securities at the time as having possible major risks.
Beijing Zenith has accused senior executives of Founder Group of embezzling tens of billions of yuan. Founder Group, whose securities unit is separately suing a company bought from Beijing Zenith, has declined to comment on the accusation.
Earlier this month, parent Founder Group said four of its executives had been ordered to cooperate with an official investigation.
Founder Securities teamed up with Credit Suisse in 2008 to form a joint venture known as Credit Suisse Founder Securities. The venture is 66.7 percent-owned by Founder Securities and 33.3 percent owned-by Credit Suisse, with a total investment of 800 million yuan.
Thursday's announcement came after Chinese markets had closed. Founder Securities' shares ended 0.16 percent higher at 12.66 yuan, lagging the Shanghai composite index's 0.63 percent rise. ($1 = 6.2085 Chinese yuan renminbi) (Reporting by Lee Chyen Yee in SINGAPORE and Meg Shen in HONG KONG; Editing by Elaine Hardcastle)