Structural changes of the elite have been a particular focus of sociological and economic research and debate since the outset of reforms in the post-communist transition countries. While most studies on elite changes focus on the relative income position as the indicator for the changing position of the old elite, we concentrate on the strength and pattern of decision-making power of China's old elite in newly emerging economic entities, such as listed companies. In line with the power persistence thesis, our analysis shows that the local party committees still succeed at keeping their fingers in the decision-making process even after two decades of economic transition, due to diverse lock-in effects between the party and various areas of the institutional environment. We hypothesize that the decision-making power of the local party committees is weakened by the emergence of market and private power during the economic reform and test our hypothesis by employing a survey conducted by the Shanghai Stock Exchange. This study supplements and broadens empirical evidence on the market-transition model and emphasizes the particular importance of a major private shareholder as the central constraint on the persistence of old elite in enterprise decision making.