Zhang set to join ICBC as vice-president

08:56, April 16, 2010      

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Deutsche Bank AG's top Asian executive Lee Zhang is expected to join the Industrial and Commercial Bank of China (ICBC) as vice-president, sources familiar with the matter said on Thursday.

Zhang's return is seen as a victory of sorts in the government efforts to bring home top financial talent employed in Western firms to man State-owned enterprises.

Though rumors on Zhang's appointment have been circulating for some time now, ICBC sources confirmed on Thursday that it was planning to recruit Zhang as vice-president.

"The lender has internally approved the plan to bring Zhang on board, even though it is yet to make a filing to the stock exchange on the matter," the source told China Daily on condition of anonymity. A press officer with ICBC said he was not aware if Zhang had already started working for the bank.

Jean Cai, a Beijing-based communications officer with Deutsche Bank, said Zhang is still with the company as head of global banking for Asia-Pacific outside Japan and declined to comment on the ICBC appointment.

Zhang, 45, will be the first top-notch investment banker from a Western bank joining a Chinese State-run lender.

"This is a bold attempt and major progress in the country's effort to bring in talent from overseas," said He Jun, a senior analyst with Anbound Consultancy.

Conventionally, candidates for the top slots at the country's State-run lenders climb through the ranks gradually and have to work for different financial institutions in the country before getting promoted, with overseas talent never being in the reckoning till now.

"As major Chinese lenders move into the international financial world, it is necessary for them to recruit more talent with an international horizon," he said.

Indeed, Zhang is not an outsider to China's political world. As a member of the country's top advisory body, a political status rarely offered to Chinese who work for Western firms, Zhang has the chance to meet top government officials and regulators and advise on various social and economic issues.

Zhang also helped Deutsche Bank bag the IPO mandate of Agricultural Bank of China.

Source: China Daily


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