Huang Xiaoguang will join ANZ in January as chief executive for China and head of greater China, replacing Charles Li who resigned last August to pursue other interests, the Australian bank said on Thursday.
He moves from Bank of America Merrill Lynch where he was president of its China operations from 2010 to 2014 and had recently been made co-head of global corporate and investment banking for BofA Merrill China.
Huang, who has also had senior roles at ABN Amro and Citigroup in a 22-year career, will be based in Shanghai and report to Farhan Faruqui, the Australian lender’s CEO for international banking. ANZ’s chief risk officer for China Hong Swee Lau will continue as acting CEO China until Huang takes up his post, which is subject to regulatory approvals.
“[Huang] has an impressive track record in building and leading institutional banks in China and has the right credentials to help drive greater connectivity within Greater China, where trade and investment flows are already substantial and growing,” Faruqui said in a bank statement.
Faruqui is himself a recent hire, joining in August from Citi where he spent 23 years in various management roles in Europe and Asia. He is tasked at ANZ with leading the implementation of the bank’s strategic goals in Asia, including acquisitions and the pursuit of full banking licences in Myanmar and Thailand.
The Melbourne-headquartered bank has operations in 29 Asian markets, in addition to its core Australia and New Zealand business, and a presence in the UK, US, Germany and Dubai. ANZ’s so-called “Super Regional Strategy” focuses on developing relationships with corporate and financial institutions and tapping into trade, capital and wealth flows throughout the region with the aid of its Asian retail branch network.
An ANZ report published earlier this year argued that the Asian financial system will likely eclipse those in the US and Europe by 2030.
Its revenue from the region has grown at an compound annual growth rate of 23% in the last five years. The bank 's 2014 results on October 31 also showed that its cash profit (which excludes non-core items) from Asia rose 25%.
It posted a global after-tax profit of US$7.1 billion, up 15% on 2013, partly driven by a 17% reduction in its bad loan provision charge.
ANZ chief executive Mike Smith pointed out at a media conference announcing the results last week that ”with the phase of high investment in Asia largely complete, we are seeing a greater share of Asia-led revenue growth translate to profit”.
ANZ is keen to wholly-own banks in the region rather than take minority stakes, as Smith explained to investors in Hong Kong at last May. It sold its 9.6% stake in Vietnam’s Sacombank in 2012, is planning to leave its joint venture with Cambodia’s Royal Group and is also looking to sell its 39.2% holding in Indonesia’s Panin Bank.
Basel III’s tougher capital-weighting rules means it is expensive to retain some minority investments.
Nevertheless, ANZ is keen to retain its 17% stake in the Bank of Tianjin and 20% holding in Shanghai Rural Commercial Bank, despite regulatory restrictions in China that prevent it from majority acquisitions.
The bank has been present in China since 1986 and ANZ China was locally incorporated in 2010, employing 800 staff. It now has six branches, four sub-branches and an operations hub in Chengdu, which it opened in 2011.
A year later, ANZ became the first Australian lender to receive a retail renminbi licence, in addition to its existing renminbi capabilities for corporate clients.
Andrew Géczy, ANZ’s global CEO for international and institutional banking commented on Huang’s recruitment that “the appointment of a career banker of [Huang’s] calibre is another example of the progress we have made in building a strong franchise…across Asia-Pacific.”
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