China International Capital Corp, the country's first Sino-foreign investment bank, hired its former investment banking head Bi Mingjian as chief executive, sources with knowledge of the matter said. Bi was set to replace Levin Zhu, the son of a former Chinese premier, the source said. The appointment needed approval from mainland regulators, one of the sources said. Zhu resigned in October before a planned initial public offering by the firm. The appointment would help clear uncertainty about the company's leadership and smooth its plan for the listing this year, one source said. Bi stepped down as CICC's investment banking head in late 2005, with his responsibilities assumed by new committees formed by Zhu the following year, the sources said. He later acted as a senior adviser to the firm's US office. Bi, who is now a partner at private equity firm Hopu Investment Management, could not immediately be reached for comment. CICC, which was set up in 1995, had been planning a Hong Kong share sale that might value it at more than US$3 billion, sources with knowledge of the matter said last year. The lack of a permanent replacement for Zhu could make the approval for the listing more difficult, the sources said in October. His departure was followed later that month by Jin Liqun, who resigned as chairman less than two years into his job. Zhu left CICC to seek other opportunities, according to an internal memorandum in October, and he said in November that he was taking a break. His father, Zhu Rongji, stepped down as China's premier in 2003. In a letter to employees posted on news portal Sina.com after his resignation, Zhu said his departure would help the company's long-term development and "create a smooth transition and succession for the management". He said he was "passing on the relay baton" to the management team. If his appointment is approved, Bi will take over a firm that ranked 13th in arranging domestic equity and equity-linked sales last year, slumping from third in 2013 amid rising competition from domestic rivals including Citic Securities and Haitong Securities.