Nominee for ADB job has strong HK links

Liz Hodgson

BILL Clinton's latest nomination to a high-ranking post is a formidable Shanghai-born banking brain with strong links to Hongkong.

The United States President is to appoint Shanghai-born Linda Tsao Yang - sister of International Maritime Carrier's head Frank Tsao - as executive director of the Asian Development Bank (ADB), based in Manila.

Mrs Yang, who entered public life as the first Asian-American appointed to the board of the California state pension fund for public employees, and then became the first woman and the first minority appointed head of California's Savings and Loan Commission, will have the official rank of ambassador.

She will become one of 12 executive directors of the ADB, founded by the US and Japan 27 years ago and owned by 53 governments and administrations, 36 of them Asian.

''I was extremely honoured and delighted when I learned President Clinton was going to nominate me,'' said Mrs Yang, 66, from her home in the University city of Davis, Northern California.

Mrs Yang believes she came to Mr Clinton's attention when she was placed two seats away from him at an economic conference in Little Rock, Arkansas, which was also attended by Treasury Secretary Lloyd Bentson.

''I had the opportunity to present what I thought our policy should be on Pacific Rim matters,'' she said.

Mrs Yang, who left Shanghai for postgraduate studies at Columbia University in New York in 1946, and whose family fled to Hongkong while she was abroad, already has a clear vision for the ADB.

''I would advocate Pan-Asian policies. We should be developing national strengths and partnerships. I am from Asia. I have an understanding of at least part of the cultures and traditions of Asia, and I think that's a strength I will be able to take to the ADB.''