CHINA / National

China Construction Bank appoints new chief
Updated: 2006-07-28 08:49

The board of China Construction Bank (CCB), one of the Big Four banks in China, appointed Zhang Jianguo as the bank's new chief, CCB announced late Thursday.

Zhang Jianguo. []

The appointment still needs the approval from the China Banking Regulatory Commission to be effective, according to rules.

Hu Changmiao, spokesman for CCB, said the decision was made in a board meeting held Thursday afternoon, and CCB will hold the stockholders' meeting at a proper time and send Zhang's profiles to all stockholders.

Hu said the board also decided to choose Zhang as deputy director of the CCB board and the executive director of the board.

Zhang, 51, has been acting as the head of China's Bank of Communications since May, 2004. He submitted his resignation to the bank on Tuesday after the CCB announced that its board had accepted resignation of former CCB president Chang Zhenming.

The board of CCB considered Zhang as the best choice as he has long been working with commercial banks and has rich experience of administration, according to source close to CCB.

Under Zhang's leadership, the Bank of Communications invited the Hong Kong and Shanghai Banking Corporation Limited (HSBC) to hold a 19.9-percent stake. It also listed on the Mainland Board of the Hong Kong Stock Exchange in June 2005 and became the first overseas listed commercial bank on the Chinese mainland.

Taking the appointment on Thursday, Zhang said he was confident to make CCB one of the world's top commercial banks, with efforts of CCB's over 300,000 employees.

The annual report of the Bank of Communications showed that net profits of the bank in 2005 increased by 7.64 billion yuan (953 million U.S. dollars), or 476.62 percent over the same period of 2004.

The CCB took the lead among China's Big Four state banks to go public in Hong Kong last October, when its shares met a strong trading debut, as investors were eager to buy into China's robust economy.

China must overhaul its debt-laden domestic banks ahead of the full opening of its financial market to foreign competition by the end of this year, observers have said, and public listing is expected to help the banks improve management.

CCB's core capital reached 287.7 billion yuan (36 billion U.S. dollars)by the end of 2005, with its capital adequacy ratio, a measure of its own capital in proportion to its outstanding lending, also rising to 13.57 percent.

By the end of last year, the bank's non-performing loan (NPL) ratio stood at 3.84 percent, the lowest among the Big Four banks, also including The Industrial and Commercial Bank of China Corporation (ICBC), Bank of China (BOC) and Agricultural Bank of China (ABC).