Agricultural Bank of China

'Low-profile' banker in spotlight over graft

PUBLISHED : Thursday, 31 May, 2012, 12:00am
UPDATED : Thursday, 31 May, 2012, 12:00am


To those who knew him, Yang Kun was not a particularly forthcoming man. He tended to keep a low profile even as he climbed up Agriculture Bank of China's ranks.

But now the senior executive's quiet rise at one of the mainland's Big Four lenders has sparked an uproar, as 63-year-old Yang (pictured) faces allegations of corruption, including illegal links to Macau gambling.

A 19-year veteran of the bank, Yang's career took off just a decade ago. He became president of Agbank's Anhui branch in 2002, when he was 53, and then moved on to become assistant to the bank's president a year later.

Yang was promoted to vice-president of the country's third-largest bank by assets in March 2004. He held that post until he moved one step up to executive director in 2009.

Throughout his career, he oversaw several divisions, including personnel, training, agency business and market development, according to Caixin news.

Yang holds a master's degree in economics from Nankai University, which has produced many of the mainland's financial heavyweights, including China Securities Regulatory Commission chairman Guo Shuqing and China Insurance Regulatory Commission head Xiang Junbo, who is also a former chairman of Agbank.

Yang received his bachelor's degree in political and economic sciences in 1985 before obtaining his master's in 1996.

Despite this storied background, he gave bland and not insightful answers during an interview on state broadcaster CCTV in September, where he discussed banks' support to small and medium-sized enterprises. In another interview about Agbank's challenges, he seemed more relaxed but avoided reporters' eyes.

Additional reporting by George Chen