The Communist Party chief of the Red Cross Society of China has stepped down as the organisation still struggles to restore public confidence after a series of scandals.
Zhao Baige, 62, will no longer serve as the society's executive vice-president and the head of its Communist Party committee, according to a statement posted on its website yesterday.
Zhao would be succeeded by Xu Ke, 58, a deputy minister at the National Health and Family Planning Commission, the society said. Zhao took up her role at the Red Cross in late 2011, a few months after a woman falsely claiming to represent the society, Guo Meimei, created nationwide controversy by posting pictures of a Maserati car and luxury bags on her social media account.
The Red Cross has also been criticised for misuse of donations and public funds in recent years.
Guo appeared on state television last month apologising for fabricating her connections to the Red Cross and tarnishing its image.
The Red Cross called on donors on its social media page "to please forget Guo Meimei" in the wake of her confession. The controversies have led to a fall in donations to the Red Cross on the mainland.
A day after an earthquake in Sichuan province last year the society received about 140,000 yuan (HK$17,000), a fraction of the 22.3 million yuan taken by movie star Jet Li's One Foundation.
The Red Cross statement yesterday praised Zhao for her "diligent work and efforts" over the past three years.
Her successor, Xu, worked in Jilin province from the 1970s until transferring to the Ministry of Health in 2001. Xu was appointed a deputy minister of the National Health and Family Planning Commission in April last year shortly after the commission was established by merging the former health ministry and family planning commission. Her portfolio with the commission included emergency response and disease prevention and control.
Zhao obtained her doctoral degree from the University of Cambridge in Britain in 1988.
She worked at the central government's family planning commission in the late 1990s and was appointed as its deputy director in September 2003.
In September 2011, she became executive vice-president of the Red Cross, according to the society's website.