ICBC names new pres­i­dent

China Daily (USA) - - BUSINESS - By LI XIANG lix­i­ang@chi­

In­dus­trial and Com­mer­cial BankofChina Ltd, the world’s big­gest bank by as­sets, is to ap­point a new­pres­i­dent from within its own ranks — end­ing four months of spec­u­la­tion about who would fill the va­cancy for the top job at the bank­ing gi­ant.

ICBC’s press of­fice con­firmed on Tues­day that its Vice Pres­i­dent Gu Shu will be pro­moted to pres­i­dent and said the of­fi­cial ap­point­ment will be an­nounced after the bank holds its board meet­ing.

Gu, 49, who has ex­ten­sive ex­pe­ri­ence in fi­nance and ac­count­ing, will be the youngest bank­ing chief of China’s big four State-owned lenders.

The per­son­nel change is part of a reshuf­fle that fol­lows the re­tire­ment of for­mer Chair­man Jiang Jian­qing in May. For­mer Pres­i­dent Yi Huiman re­placed Jiang as the bank’s chair­man.

The ap­point­ment of Gu has gen­er­ated in­dus­try dis­cus­sion about how the new chief would lead the bank at a time when China’s over­all bank­ing sec­tor is un­der pres­sure due to ris­ing bad loans and de­clin­ing profit.

At­ten­tion also fo­cused on how the new­pres­i­dent would trans­form the bank’s busi­ness model and ad­dress the chal­lenges posed by the rise of in­ter­net and dig­i­tal bank­ing.

“ICBC is in critical phase in trans­form­ing busi­ness model to fit into the over­all eco­nomic tran­si­tion in China,” said Zeng Gang, a se­nior re­searcher at theChi­ne­seA­cademy of So­cial Sciences’ in­sti­tute of fi­nance and bank­ing.

“The new pres­i­dent is ex­pected to re­spond to a slew of chal­lenges in­clud­ing the rise of in­ter­net and on­line fi­nance that are chal­leng­ing the tra­di­tional bank­ing busi­ness,” Zeng said.

Gu­joined ICBC in 1998 and be­came the bank’s vice pres­i­dent in 2013. He holds a doc­toral de­gree in eco­nom­ics from Shang­hai Univer­sity of Fi­nance and Eco­nom­ics and was a vis­it­ing scholar at Penn­syl­va­nia StateUniver­sity.

Gu was in charge of ICBC’s in­ter­na­tional and in­for­ma­tion tech­nol­ogy de­part­ments while he served as vice pres­i­dent of the bank. He also ex­ten­sively par­tic­i­pated in the share­hold­ing sys­tem re­form of the bank be­fore it went pub­lic in what was then the world’s big­gest IPO of $21.9 bil­lion in 2006, ac­cord­ing toChi­nese me­dia re­ports.

Gu’s ap­point­ment came as Chi­nese banks have been ex­posed to greater risks due to the surg­ing cor­po­rate debt and ris­ing credit de­faults by the so-called zom­bie Sta­te­owned en­ter­prises amid China’s eco­nomic slow­down.

IPO of ICBC in 2006 then the world’s largest

Jiang Xueqing con­trib­uted to this story.

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