China Central Television has appointed a new chief to oversee construction of its multibillion-yuan headquarters in an apparent attempt to plug a management vacuum four months after a massive fire at the site. Sources at the state broadcaster said the appointment of Huang Pinggang was announced several days ago. He was previously an office director in charge of technical support. The appointment of Mr Huang, 46, would effectively fill the vacancy left by Xu Wei, who had been detained in connection with the February 9 fire on the night of the Lantern Festival. The blaze killed one fireman and gutted a 30-storey building on the north side of the CCTV complex, which had cost an estimated 20 billion yuan (HK$22.7 billion) to construct. Losses have been estimated at several hundred million yuan. An investigation found CCTV had hired staff from a pyrotechnics company to light several hundred large fireworks without clearance from the city fire department, in an open space outside the nearly completed building, which was to house the 241-room Mandarin Oriental Hotel. Police arrested more than a dozen people, including Mr Xu and several mid-level managers put in charge of the futuristic headquarters. Much of the construction work has been put on hold as many officials at CCTV, and specifically the office in charge of the building of the headquarters, have been under investigation for dereliction of duty and corruption. Quoting unidentified sources, Caijing magazine reported online yesterday that contractors were being forced to push back their schedules by up to one year, to October 2010, as a result of the fire. No decision has been made on how to proceed with the building. Mr Huang has worked at CCTV since graduating from Tianjin University in 1984. He was credited with overseeing technical support for the unprecedented live coverage of Chinese mountaineers' ascent of Mount Everest in 2004. He also sits on two CCTV committees in charge of the broadcaster's editorial and technical affairs.