Fu Yuning, a 15-year veteran of state-owned ports-to-financial services conglomerate China Merchants Group, has been appointed chairman of China Resources Holdings (CRH), five days after former head Song Lin was placed under investigation for corruption.
The swift appointment by Beijing was seen as a move to shore up confidence in state-owned China Resources, whose five Hong Kong-listed units saw their share prices rebound yesterday after Tuesday's declines.
"Appointing an experienced manager who has Beijing's trust to CRH would instil a sense that things will be under control," said Simon Yeung, an analyst at Citic Securities.
"Another possible reason for placing an outsider instead of internally promoting someone is that it would be easier for someone without the baggage and culture to carry out any reform that may be needed within CRH."
Another personnel change prompted by Song's departure was at the Independent Commission Against Corruption in Hong Kong, which announced that Cliff Sun Kai-lit, honorary president of the Federation of Hong Kong Industries, would replace Song as chairman of the anti-graft body's ethics development advisory committee.
China Resources announced Fu had been appointed to replace Song, who is under investigation by the Communist Party's Central Commission for Discipline Inspection for suspected serious violations of party discipline and law - code for graft.
China Merchants Group also announced that Fu had stepped down as its chairman and that his duties would be assumed temporarily by its president, Li Jianghong. The price of China Resources Power shares, which fell 9.6 per cent on Tuesday, rebounded 2.5 per cent to end yesterday at HK$19.46.
Song, a former chairman of China Resources Power, was accused by two mainland journalists last year of being the mastermind behind its alleged overpayment for a basket of coal-related assets. The company denied any wrongdoing.