BoCom Said Poised to Name Niu as Chairman, Peng as President

Bank of Communications Co., China’s fifth-largest lender, may promote President Niu Ximing to chairman as the government continues changing leaders in finance, a person with knowledge of the matter said.

Niu, 56, would replace Hu Huaibang, who was named party secretary of China Development Bank Corp. last month, the person said, asking not to be identified because the information is private. Peng Chun, general manager of Central Huijin Investment Co. and a former vice president of the Shanghai-based bank known as BoCom, may become president, the person said.

The changes are part of a once-a-decade leadership transition that culminated with Xi Jinping becoming president and Li Keqiang named premier. The shift also saw the breakup of the Railway Ministry, the nomination of a new finance minister and Zhou Xiaochuan’s reappointment as central bank governor. New leaders have also been chosen for Bank of China Ltd., China Merchants Bank Co. and the securities regulator.

The appointments, reported earlier today by Caixin magazine, were approved by the central government yesterday, the person said.

The bank hasn’t received any notice regarding the changes and will make timely disclosures of any management moves, a Bank of Communications press officer said.

Niu joined BoCom in December 2009 after serving in various positions at Industrial & Commercial Bank of China Ltd., the world’s largest bank by market value, since 1986. Earlier he worked at the central bank, according to his biography on BoCom’s website.

HSBC Stake

On Niu’s watch, BoCom reported average annual profit growth of 25 percent, while its assets expanded by about 60 percent. The Chinese bank also beefed up its capital strength and deepened cooperation with HSBC Holdings Plc, which owns a stake of about 19 percent.

Niu obtained a B.A. in finance from Central University of Finance and Economics in 1983 and an M.A. in economics from Harbin Institute of Technology in 1997.

Peng, born in 1962,joined BoCom in 1994 and became executive vice president of China Investment Corp., the nation’s $482 billion sovereign wealth fund,in May 2010. Central Huijin, which controls China’s largest lenders and brokerages on behalf of the government, is a unit of CIC.

Shares of BoCom, in which the Finance Ministry holds 26.5 percent, rose 0.2 percent to HK$6.24 at 1:41 p.m. in Hong Kong, bringing their gain for the year to 6.9 percent. That outperformed the 2.3 percent increase in the benchmark Hang Seng Index in 2013.

Separately, Beijing-based ICBC may promote Vice President Yi Huiman to president as Yang Kaisheng plans to retire, Reuters reported today, citing an unidentified person.

— With assistance by Jun Luo

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