Tianjin mayor Dai Xianglong will be replaced by a deputy and transferred to a new post soon, media reports and official sources said yesterday.
The appointment of executive vice-mayor Huang Xingguo, 53, as acting mayor was approved by the Tianjin People's Congress Standing Committee yesterday. Official sources said Mr Huang would take over the helm of the northern municipality, but it was not known what job Mr Dai would be given.
Mr Dai, 63, a former People's Bank of China governor, was appointed mayor of the port city in 2003.
Under his leadership, Tianjin began transforming itself from a sooty, industrial city into the mainland's second financial centre after Shanghai. It is also taking the lead to boost economic development in the Bohai region, which includes Hebei, Liaoning and Shandong provinces.
Last year, the State Council endorsed a project to develop Tianjin's Binhai New Area, giving its backing to financial and land reform experiments, along with a wealth of tax breaks to investors, and subsidies to local authorities. Many observers believe the support was partly due to Mr Dai's influence.
At a meeting of Tianjin officials on Wednesday, Mr Dai said goodbye to colleagues.
'I will be pleased to accept the new work arrangements the central government makes. I will continue to be concerned about Tianjin's development in the new post,' the Hong Kong-based Ta Kung Pao quoted Mr Dai as saying.
Another Tianjin official said: 'Mr Dai is good at making macroeconomic strategies. He paved the way for the city's financial reform and improved co-operation with Beijing.'
The official said Mr Huang was also very capable and diligent.
Ta Kung Pao said the official announcement of Mr Huang's appointment as mayor would be made next month, while Mr Dai's new position would be announced in March.