Jiang Jiemin, the head of the country's biggest oil and gas producer, has been picked to lead a ministry-level agency that oversees about 70 trillion yuan (HK$87 trillion) of non-financial state assets.
Jiang, the chairman of China National Petroleum Corp, replaces Wang Yong as head of the State-owned Assets Supervision and Administration Commission, NetEase reported yesterday.
Wang was promoted to become a state councillor.
Sasac and CNPC spokesmen were unable to confirm the report last night.
PetroChina, CNPC's listed unit, announced Jiang had resigned as the chairman and director of the company.
Jiang's appointment as chief of the state-asset watchdog came as Premier Li Keqiang pledged to streamline government bodies and reduce administrative interventions to give the market a greater role in the economy.
Sasac controls state assets in many sectors of strategic importance to the economy, such as telecommunications, petroleum and mining. State firms have been heavily criticised for enjoying monopolies at the expense of private businesses.
"Recent remarks by Chinese leaders have opened room for further actions to boost innovation and efficiency in the economy," Citigroup economist Shen Minggao said. "Sasac can't isolate itself from the major trend."
Wang Jun, a researcher with the China Centre for International Economic Exchange, said Jiang could draw on his experience running CNPC to help transform the regulator.
"Reform in the state sector hasn't seen any major breakthrough in past years. On the contrary, resources have been overly concentrated in some areas," Wang said.
Jiang, who has spent most of his career at CNPC, led the firm in its aggressive expansion overseas. He said last year PetroChina would spend at least US$60 billion this decade on overseas resources after acquiring assets abroad.
Jiang was deputy governor of Qinghai province from 2000 to 2004.
Zhang Yi, the party secretary of Ningxia autonomous region, was named party chief of Sasac, state media reported.