Luckin Coffee, the once-high-flying Starbucks rival whose fortunes turned recently in the wake of a major accounting scandal, has fired its chief executive and its chief operating officer.
The Beijing-based coffee roaster said today it terminated CEO Jenny Zhiya Qian and COO Jian Liu, effective on Sunday. The two executives have also been forced to resign from the company’s board. Jinyi Guo, Luckin’s senior vice president, will serve as acting CEO.
With its explosive growth and tech-savvy approach to retail, Luckin was seen as a model for Chinese companies looking to list on U.S. stock exchanges. However, its shares collapsed in March—about a year after its public debut on the Nasdaq—after it revealed in an SEC filing that it was investigating several employees, including its CEO, for allegedly fabricating sales figures. Sales of the stock on Nasdaq were halted in April.
In a press release today, Luckin said the investigation is still ongoing, but that a special board committee presented further evidence about the fudged transactions. Six additional employees “who were involved in or had the knowledge of the fabricated transactions” were also either suspended or placed on leave.