Top Bank Chiefs Resign as Leadership Transition Looms

The chairmen of China’s two biggest banks resigned Friday to assume government positions, signaling a turnover at the top of China’s financial system ahead of Beijing’s political leadership change in 2012. From The Wall Street Journal:

Guo Shuqing, chairman of China Construction Bank Corp., and Xiang Junbo, chairman of Agricultural Bank of China Ltd., resigned effective immediately to take up “state financial work,” according to statements from the banks. They didn’t give further details.

Personnel reshuffling in China’s banking system typically come in waves. The last shake-up was in late 2009, when the five biggest banks and state-run overseas lender China Development Bank exchanged vice presidents among themselves.

While the move by an executive from one bank to a competing institution might raise eyebrows in the West, such changes aren’t unusual in China, as Beijing is the largest shareholder in state-run banks and executives at state firms are effectively civil servants who can be reassigned at the government’s discretion.

Bloomberg writes that Guo and Xiang will likely assume leadership over the China Securities Regulatory Commission and the China Insurance Regulatory Commission, respectively. See also CDT coverage of China’s leadership succession, including a primer on the institutions and individuals at the center of the upcoming transition.