Beijing is to appoint the chief of Bank of Communications - which is a pioneer of mainland banking reforms - to head government investment conglomerate China Everbright Holdings, according to sources. The move to appoint Wang Mingquan as successor to Liu Mingkang at China Everbright will allow Mr Liu to concentrate on his role as president of Bank of China (BOC), the mainland's largest foreign-exchange bank. Mr Liu concurrently heads the BOC, Everbright Bank of China and China Everbright Holdings, which controls three Hong Kong-listed companies including flagship China Everbright. Former chief executive of the BOC's Hong Kong and Macau regional office Yang Zilin had been rumoured to be in line for the job. Pending Beijing's final decision, Mr Wang was expected to assume his new role in Hong Kong shortly. Analysts see the latest leadership reshuffle at the state bank and mainland conglomerates as a key move by Premier Zhu Rongji to push through financial reform. In February, Beijing announced an unprecedented shake-up at its top state banks and securities regulator, paving the way for more reshuffles of top officials as it speeds economic restructuring and consolidation ahead of World Trade Organisation accession. The BOC is undergoing a restructuring plan of unprecedented size to consolidate banking operations in Hong Kong. The 12-member BOC Group, a loose confederation, is the SAR's second-largest banking organisation behind HSBC. BOC president Mr Liu said the group would complete its proposed restructuring and preparations for a public listing before the end of this year. The impending announcement of Mr Wang's appointment will help remove uncertainty clouding the China Everbright group after former chairman Zhu Xiaohua was sacked by the central government in July last year for involvement in 'economic irregularities'. While Mr Liu was appointed to replace Mr Zhu, most see him as a transitional figure at China Everbright, which was once seen as the best connected company until Mr Zhu's downfall. The company then underwent painful restructuring to focus on expanding its financial services in securities, banking, insurance and asset management. Bank of Communications is a bank reform pioneer and the country's first shareholding bank. It is a national bank based in Shanghai, but is often grouped with the four large state-owned banks - Agricultural Bank of China, BOC, China Construction Bank, and Industrial and Commercial Bank of China. But unlike the state banks, which are mired in bad debts, Bank of Communications is one of the more professionally managed banks due to the injection of commercial practices. Dai Xianglong, governor of the People's Bank of China, the country's central bank, is a predecessor of Mr Wang. This year, the Bank of Communications is working towards a public flotation in what is seen as a big leap by Beijing to reform a banking sector dominated by the four large state-owned banks. A successful listing of the Bank of Communications would pave the way for other state bank listings. Only regional banks Shenzhen Development Bank and Shanghai Pudong Development Bank are listed on domestic stock exchanges. The appointment claims coincided with a weekend meeting of central bankers and regulators to map a five-year strategy for the financial sector, a move made more pertinent by pending WTO entry.