A pronounced irreversible electro-optical response (memory effect) has been recently observed for nematic liquid crystal (LC) EBBA doped by multi-walled carbon nanotubes (MWCNTs) near the percolation threshold of the MWCNTs (0.02÷0.05 wt. %). It is caused by irreversible homeotropic-to-planar reorientation of LC in an electric field. This feature is explained by electro-hydrodynamically stimulated dispergation of MWCNTs in LC and by the formation of a percolation MWCNT network which acts as a spatially distributed surface stabilizing the planar state of the LC. This mechanism is confirmed by the absence of memory in the EBBA/MWCNT composites, whose original structure is fixed by a polymer. The observed effect suggests new operation modes for the memory type and bistable LC devices, as well as a method for in situ dispergation of carbon nanotubes in LC cells.