Blackstone said on Saturday it has named Liping Zhang as a senior managing director and Greater China chairman.
Zhang will advise the firm's management and regional business units as it continues to expand in the region. He will continue to be based in Hong Kong and act as a senior interface for regulators.
Zhang has more than 30 years of financial industry, corporate management and government sector experience.
He joins from Credit Suisse where he was most recently co-chief executive officer of Greater China and vice chairman of global investment banking. Apart from providing senior client coverage, Zhang also maintained relationships with regulators. Neil Harvey became Greater China co-head with Zhang in 2013.
“His appointment underscores the strategic importance of Greater China to Blackstone,” said Stephen Schwarzman, chairman, CEO and co-founder of Blackstone in a statement on Saturday.
Zhang’s predecessor as Blackstone’s Greater China chairman, Antony Leung, joined Hong Kong's property developer Nan Fung in 2014 as its chief executive.
Leung, Hong Kong’s former financial secretary joined the New York-based investment firm in 2007 as co-head with a remit to help it develop a network of senior decision makers, to build a team and help sign deals.
During his nearly seven years at Blackstone, Leung helped convince China’s sovereign wealth fund CIC to invest $3 billion in Blackstone and introduced the firm to corporate executives.
When Leung left Blackstone did not immediately seek to fill his position. But as the firm's management got to know Zhang they felt his long-standing relationships across Greater China could be useful to all Blackstone's businesses in the country.
Zhang had been with Credit Suisse since September 2004 and has 28 years of experience within the financial industry, corporate management and the government sector, having started his career at China's ministry of foreign trade and economic cooperation in the early 1980s.
Among his many positions since then, he has been a director of investment banking and China chief representative at Merrill Lynch.
Zhang made his name as a star China originator in his seven years with Merrill Lynch in the mid-1990s when he helped to build its China franchise. During that time he worked on the IPO of Shanghai Petrochemical, the first dual New York and Hong Kong listing to originate from China. In 1994 he also played a key role in the launch of the People's Republic of China's debut sovereign bond issue.
When the red chip boom hit its fever pitch, Zhang left Merrill to run a China-backed financial group called Seapower Financial Services, which was later sold to KGI. He then became managing director of Pacific Concord Holdings and then CEO of animation studio Imagi International.
Zhang graduated from Beijing University’s School of International Business and Economics and received a master’s degree in international affairs and international law from St. John’s University.
He also attended NYU’s Stern School of Business.