Beijing is expected to announce appointments to key financial positions in the near future as the new leadership prepares to take bolder steps towards financial reforms.
Tu Guangshao, executive vice-mayor of Shanghai, will be named chairman of the mainland's US$500 billion sovereign wealth fund, China Investment Corp, more than two months after Lou Jiwei left the post to become finance minister, sources said.
CIC was not available for comment yesterday. The Shanghai municipal government would not comment on the personnel change.
The reshuffle comes after a slew of personnel changes in the mainland's securities' regulator and policy and commercial banks this year, as the new leadership, led by Xi Jinping, consolidates power to pave way for deepened reforms in the financial sector.
CIC has been under the spotlight since an injection in 2007 of US$200 billion from the mainland's foreign reserves, over unsuccessful investments and the blocking of some of its attempts to acquire foreign assets. The appointment of Tu will come at a time when the sovereign fund is awaiting capital injections to boost investment, and the clarification of the question of whether China will get a second sovereign fund.
Tu, 54, has been in charge of finance, taxation and external affairs in Shanghai, the city the mainland leadership aims to turn into a world financial centre, since 2007. Before that he worked at the People's Bank of China, the Shanghai Stock Exchange, and the China Securities Regulatory Commission.
An official with the Shanghai financial services office said: "Tu is a capable senior cadre with a good command of English. He's open-minded and keen on financial liberalisation to drive the markets on a par with international practices."
The new appointment would be good news for CIC but a loss to Shanghai, the official said. The chairmanship of CIC carries the rank of a minister and the sovereign fund boss will be tasked with helping the country to increase its rising economic profile worldwide and to seal massive lucrative deals to quench the mainland's thirst for resources and sophisticated know-how.
Li Xiaopeng, currently a vice-president at Industrial and Commercial Bank of China (ICBC), will also be joining CIC. Li will be named chairman of the fund's supervisory board, replacing Jin Liqun, who will become chairman of China International Capital, sources said. The former head of China International Capital, Li Jiange, will now head the Shanghai-based Shenyin Wanguo Securities.
ICBC, the world's largest bank by assets and capitalisation, will have a new president as soon as incumbent vice-president Yi Huiman takes over from the retiring Yang Kaisheng, bankers said. ICBC declined to comment.
Bocom's former chairman, Hu Huaibang, was recently nominated as party secretary of China Development Bank, one of the country's biggest policy lenders.