Levin Zhu, the son of former Premier Zhu Rongji, has resigned as chief executive of the first Sino-foreign joint venture investment bank in a surprise move likely to slow down the company's initial public offering (IPO) process. The 57-year-old Zhu used his clout at China International Capital Corp (CICC) to secure mega underwriting deals from state-owned juggernauts such as China Unicom. CICC said Shoukang Lin, a managing director, would become acting chief executive. It expressed its "utmost gratitude" to Zhu for his "outstanding contributions" to the company in more than 16 years. "It came as a big surprise to the Beijing office, even after a series of steady departures of senior executives," said a middle-level CICC manager, who spoke on condition of anonymity. Sources said Zhu would most probably move into the internet business. Zhu's resignation came after CICC had started preparations for a Hong Kong IPO in the middle of this year with targeted proceeds of US$500 million. The investment bank will now need to fine-tune its documentation ahead of the IPO. A fund manager with ties to CICC said Zhu's resignation was partly the result of the mainland leadership's determination to urge the offspring of top leaders to cut ties with vested interest groups amid President Xi Jinping's anti-graft campaign. "An IPO means the top executives will have to make public the incomes and the shares of the company he holds," the source said. "He decided to exit so as to not get any trouble." It came as a big surprise ... even after a series of steady departures A CICC manager CICC was established by Morgan Stanley and China Construction Bank in 1995 and was a dominant player in managing overseas share sales by state-owned firms shortly after Zhu joined in 1998. His father Zhu Rongji was premier from 1998 to 2003. Profits of CICC have declined since 2008 due to increased competition from domestic rivals such as Citic Securities and Haitong Securities. Morgan Stanley sold its stake to a consortium of investors including Singapore's sovereign wealth fund and private equity firm KKR & Co in 2010. CICC has been losing market share in underwriting mainland companies' overseas share offerings while its business on the A-share market has been lacklustre. According to Bloomberg, CICC was ranked the 13th among mainland investment banks in arranging A-share stock sales this year, down from third last year. Its net profits were put at 215.4 million yuan last year, 49th among the mainland's 115 securities firms, according to the Securities Association of China. Several key managers at China Investment Corp, the mainland's sovereign fund, once worked at CICC to gain experience of overseas investment and fundraising deals. "Aside from political reasons, he might have felt bored at continuing to serve a falling CICC," said a source close to CICC.