Former Securities and Futures Commission chairman Anthony Neoh has been appointed the first independent director of the restructured Bank of China, sources said yesterday. Pending regulatory clearance, another well-known foreign professional will also be invited to join the board as the mainland bank under goes a corporate face-lift before the planned introduction of strategic investors and a stock-market listing next year. The expanded board of the mainland's largest foreign-exchange lender will make its first public appearance in Beijing tomorrow when it will announce the completion of the restructuring of one of the four wholly state-owned banking behemoths into a shareholding company. The reincarnated Bank of China would have initial registered capital of 186.39 billion yuan, the People's Bank of China, said yesterday. The amount is equivalent to the US$22.5 billion infusion of state foreign-exchange reserves it received last year to help its recapitalisation. Central Huijin Investment will initially be the sole stakeholder in the restructured bank. Co-managed by the Ministry of Finance, the central bank and the State Administration of Foreign Exchange, Huijin was set up after last year's cash injection into BOC and rival China Construction Bank to hold state capital in commercial banks. The new BOC would inherit all of its predecessor's assets, liabilities and 188,700 staff, the central bank said. Mr Neoh was elected as an independent director at a shareholders' meeting on Monday. He is already a senior adviser to the board of its Hong Kong arm, BOC Hong Kong (Holdings). BOC's new board will also include Huijin representatives, new bank president Li Lihui and chairman Xiao Gang. More directors will come on board as BOC introduces new strategic investors. A bank spokesman said last month a list of potential strategic investors had been submitted to the State Council and Huijin. Analysts welcomed BOC's restructuring. But rating upgrades await further signs of change. 'It's a necessary thing to do,' said Ryan Tsang, Standard & Poor's director of financial services ratings. 'They cannot do the initial public offering without creating shares. But the corporatisation by itself does not have any impact on ratings.'