BEIJING—Steven Cao, the CEO of Edelman China's holding company, is understood to have returned to his family, almost three months after the country's authorities began an investigation into detained CCTV anchor Rui Chenggang.

Cao has been absent from work since the end of July. An Edelman spokesperson in China told the Holmes Report that Cao had returned to his family, but declined to comment on whether Cao remained an Edelman employee.

"We don’t discuss the employment status of our employees, past or present," said the spokesperson. "We are cooperating with the Chinese government investigation."

Rui, who remains under detention and has reportedly been accused of spying, was one of Cao's co-founders at Pegasus PR, which sold to Edelman in 2007.

Cao's absence came after it emerged that Rui held a shareholding in Edelman subsidiary Pegasus until 2010. Authorities visited Edelman's Beijing offices on 24 July, seeking further details. 

Since losing contact with Cao, Edelman's 300-person China operation has been overseen by the firm's existing management team.

While little remains known about why exactly why Rui was detained, many believe he has become embroiled in the anti-corruption case built against his former boss, CCTV’s financial news channel director Guo Zhenxi, who was arrested in June.