PetroChina Co. Chairman Jiang Jiemin will replace Wang Yong as head of a government body overseeing China’s biggest state-owned companies, according to two people with knowledge of the matter.
The appointment to the State-owned Assets Supervision & Administration Commission has been announced within the company, said the people, who asked not to be identified because they weren’t authorized to disclose the decision. Jiang, 57, resigned as chairman due to “work changes,” the company said in a statement posted to the Shanghai Stock Exchange, without giving details.
Jiang takes the role at the commission known as SASAC, which oversees 115 of China’s biggest state-owned companies, as groups from China National Petroleum Corp., PetroChina’s state-owned parent, to China PetroChemical Corp. acquire assets abroad to meet resources demand. He takes over as new Chinese Premier Li Keqiang yesterday pledged to open the economy to more market forces and reduce the role of the state.
“This is a well-deserved promotion for Jiang,” Gordon Kwan, head of energy research at Mirae Asset Securities Ltd., said by phone from Hong Kong. “Jiang successfully led PetroChina into the overseas M&A race, landing great acquisition prizes in Australia, Canada and many other countries.”
The appointment was reported earlier by Netease, which cited an unidentified person. Wang has already been named a State Councilor.
“We haven’t received any official notice on the appointment yet,” Zhang Jinting, a spokesman at SASAC said by phone today, without elaborating. “But it won’t be long before an official announcement is made.”
Jiang was the only head of a state-owned energy company selected as a full member of the Communist Party’s 205-strong central committee in November. He has worked in the nation’s petroleum industry for almost four decades, according to CNPC’s website.
Jiang has been calling on the government, which caps energy prices to check inflation, to reform its retail fuel and natural gas pricing mechanisms, which have forced PetroChina to sell refined products and imported natural gas at below cost.
He started as a technician at Shengli oilfield in East China’s Shandong province in December 1972, according to his biography on the People’s Daily website. He became an assistant to CNPC’s general manager in February 1999 when he led a team preparing for PetroChina’s initial share sale, according to CNPC’s website.
Jiang worked as deputy governor of the western Chinese province of Qinghai from June 2000 to April 2004, before returning to CNPC as a deputy general manager. He was appointed general manager in November 2006 and was elected chairman of PetroChina in May 2007, according to the company’s website. Jiang was appointed to the newly created post of CNPC chairman in November 2011, it said.
Jiang received a “disciplinary warning” from the government in November 2011 following four incidents linked to CNPC that included an oil leak at Dalian. A fire broke out July 16, 2010, at Dalian’s Xingang port partly operated by PetroChina, following a pipeline explosion. The blast led to an oil spill that polluted more than 183 square kilometers (70 square miles) off China’s northeastern coast, closing berths and beaches.
Zhou Jiping, Vice-Chairman of PetroChina will take on Jiang’s chairman duties until a new chairman is elected, according to one of the people.
The SASAC was created in 2003 to manage government enterprises, and holds majority stakes in the parent companies of China Mobile Ltd. and Air China Ltd.