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China Merchants Bank Names Tian Party Secretary as Ma Retires

May 9 (Bloomberg) -- China Merchants Bank Co. party secretary Ma Weihua resigned after nearly 15 years in charge of the nation’s sixth-largest lender, as management changes in the financial industry follow a once-a-decade leadership transition.

Tian Huiyu, former head of China Construction Bank Corp.’s Beijing branch, replaced the 63-year-old Ma, Shenzhen-based Merchants Bank said in an e-mailed statement yesterday.

Ma led the bank to become China’s second-largest credit-card issuer and boosted profit by an average 26 percent over the past five years. His departure comes as competitors such as China Minsheng Banking Corp. are catching up in earnings growth and accelerating expansion in retail banking.

Shares of Merchants Bank gained 0.6 percent to close at HK$16.88 in Hong Kong yesterday, before the personnel-change announcement, narrowing this year’s decline to 1.3 percent. Hong Kong’s benchmark Hang Seng Index has climbed 2.6 percent.

The change follows a leadership shift that culminated in March with Xi Jinping becoming the nation’s president and Li Keqiang premier. New leaders have been appointed for Bank of China Ltd., China Development Bank Corp. and the securities regulator.

Unlike at larger Chinese banks, China Merchants Chairman Fu Yuning oversees a broader financial group, leaving more responsibility for day-to-day operations to the president. China Merchants Group, a state-owned investment company whose other assets include ports and insurance operations, is the bank’s largest shareholder, with a stake of about 18 percent.

Tian’s Career

Tian joined Beijing-based Construction Bank, China’s second-largest lender, in 2006, according to the bank’s website. He worked as a secretary to Wang Qishan, the 21st Century Business Herald said. Wang is now a member of the Communist Party’s Politburo Standing Committee, the nation’s top decision-making body. Tian also held posts at Bank of Shanghai Co. and China Cinda Asset Management Corp., and has a master of public administration degree from Columbia University.

Before joining Merchants Bank, Ma worked for the central bank and the nation’s foreign exchange regulator. Prior to that, he worked at government departments in Liaoning and Anhui provinces, according to his biography on Merchants Bank’s website. He holds a doctorate in economics from Southwest Finance and Economics University.

To contact Bloomberg News staff for this story: Jun Luo in Shanghai at jluo6@bloomberg.net

To contact the editor responsible for this story: Chitra Somayaji at csomayaji@bloomberg.net

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