The mainland's foreign-exchange chief, Guo Shuqing, has been appointed as the new chairman of China Construction Bank (CCB), replacing Zhang Enzhao who resigned on Sunday after reportedly facing a corruption investigation. While the speedy appointment of a highly regarded scholar and bureaucrat to the top position would help salvage investor confidence in the lender's troubled initial public offering plan, it may trigger a shake-up in the top echelons of the financial industry. The Communist Party's Organisation Department yesterday afternoon announced to bank party officials Mr Guo's appointment as CCB party secretary - another position Mr Zhang used to hold, the Beijing-based lender said. Sources said Mr Guo's appointment to CCB chairman would be finalised after a board meeting. Rumours abound as to the reasons behind Mr Zhang's weekend resignation, apparently under duress as he is said to have denied corruption allegations levelled against him. Reports have centred on his involvement in loan irregularities but informed sources close to the bank said the investigation was focused on alleged bribes totalling more than US$1 million in relation to information-technology procurement contracts made by the bank. Damage to the image of mainland bank officials, and CCB in particular, has been exacerbated by the fact that the 59-year-old banker promised a clean sweep after his predecessor, Wang Xuebing, was sacked in 2002 - and later jailed - on corruption charges stemming from his tenure at another bank. CCB is rushing to secure foreign strategic investors and launch a multibillion-dollar stock offering before the end of the year but has seen its image dented by revelations that officials at its Jilin branch have absconded with more than US$8 million. Mr Guo, the head of the State Administration of Foreign Exchange and a deputy governor of the People's Bank of China, has maintained a high profile amid intense international pressure for China to revalue the yuan. He holds a doctorate in law and was a visiting scholar at Oxford University in 1986 and 1987.