Pan Gongsheng, an executive vice-president at scandal-hit Agricultural Bank of China (ABC), has been appointed a vice-governor of China's central bank, a move seen as a reward for the executive who helped two of the country's Big Four state lenders go public in the past few years.
The move comes after Yang Kun, another of the five executive vice-presidents at ABC, was detained in Beijing in late May by the Central Commission for Discipline Inspection, the party's internal anti-corruption arm, amid a widening investigation into people in the mainland's banking and property sectors.
The investigation involves alleged gambling, graft and misuse of bank loans.
People with direct knowledge of the matter said Pan had received a letter of appointment from the Organisation Department of the Communist Party at the end of May to confirm his new position at the People's Bank of China (PBOC). The department is the top human resources agency for the party and handles appointments for senior government jobs such as ministers and mayors.
'Pan's new job at PBOC is fixed. The ongoing investigation into Yang Kun will have no impact on Pan's move,' said one person, who declined to be identified due to the sensitivity of the matter.
A spokeswoman for ABC said the bank had not received any notice from relevant government bodies about Pan's move. She declined to comment further. The job change was tipped in reports about two weeks ago.
After Yang's detention there was concern in the banking industry that his case might delay Pan's move. Sources said it was a coincidence Yang had been detained as Pan was about to be promoted, and the matters were not related.
Last week, it emerged that an official at second-tier lender China Minsheng Banking, He Juxin, had been detained by police in Beijing. It is unclear if Yang and He have any direct personal connection.
Yang has served at ABC for more than two decades and is considered to be the top deputy to the ABC president and vice-chairman, Zhang Yun. In comparison, Pan's career at ABC has been much shorter.
Pan, who was born in 1963 and holds a doctorate in economics, spent most of his career at Industrial and Commercial Bank of China (ICBC), where he was a key figure in government-led efforts to restructure the bank and eventually push it to go public in 2006.
At the time, Pan served as ICBC's point man for relations with investors and the media.
ICBC is the biggest of the Big Four banks and the world's largest listed bank by market value.
About three years after ICBC went public in Hong Kong and Shanghai, Pan was assigned by Beijing to take up a position as executive vice-president at ABC.
The move was intended to help the bank, the most financially shaky of the Big Four at the time, ape ICBC's successful internal reforms and go public.
In 2010, ABC launched the world's largest initial public offering, raising over US$22 billion.
ABC has had a difficult year, with this much in yuan being misused or embezzled in the past four months, equal to HK$892 million