Au will be responsible for the management of CitiÆs businesses and infrastructure in China, according to a press release put out by Citi on Tuesday.
Morse was quoted in the press release as saying that China ôremains one of CitiÆs highest priority markets anywhere in the world.ö
The appointment follows Stanley being poached by Singapore's DBS in February this year for the CEO role, which is based in Singapore. The move was partly seen, by sources, as a lifestyle decision since StanleyÆs wife is Singaporean and his stepson is currently doing military service in Singapore.
Au has some pretty large shoes to fill. Under StanleyÆs watch, Citi made significant moves in China, including: the purchase of 5% in Pudong Development Bank in 2003, and the acquisition of 86% of Guangdong Development Bank at the head of a consortium in 2006.
One source at Citi says that the competition for the position was fierce, given its high profile and importance to Citi. The bank has a strong network of country heads across the world, many of whom would have been interested in the position, according to the source. Au was formerly country head of New Zealand and has plenty of China experience through former roles as regional trade head and regional head of commercial banking, the source says.
Au will also be responsible for developing Citi's investment banking franchise in China. Citi's restructuring in this area includes the hiring of Jing Zhao as head of Chinese investment banking from Morgan Stanley in 2006 and the appointment of Zhang Wendong in 2007 from UBS. The team has worked on the IPOs for China Coal in 2006 for $1.3billion, the $5.9billion Citic Bank IPO in 2007 and China Railway Construction's US$5.8b offering earlier this year. On the M&A side, the bank recently announced the first Chinese oil and gas M&A into Australia via Sinopec's acquisition of AED Oil.
¬ Haymarket Media Limited. All rights reserved.