Citi's chief economist for Asia leaves the bank

Johanna Chua replaces Yiping Huang as Citi's chief economist for Asia-Pacific.

In a sign of the times, an increasing number of our stories are about people leaving banks. The latest such news from Citi concerns Yiping Huang, the former chief economist for Asia, who has left the firm to teach economics in Beijing.

He is being replaced by Johanna Dee Chua, who will take up her new Hong Kong-based position immediately.

Prior to her appointment, Chua was the chief Asia emerging market trading strategist, responsible for external debt and local/FX markets research. In her new role, she will be responsible for economics research across the Asia ex-Japan region.

"Johanna has built a formidable reputation in the market as the number one ranked sovereign analyst in the region. We are confident that with the strength of our economics team throughout the region, we will further deepen our research offering," says Adrian Faure, head of Citi investment research and analysis.

The bank says Chua was part of the team that kept Citi in the top position in fixed-income research in a poll by FinanceAsia in 2008; she was also ranked number one on sovereign credit research by the same FinanceAsia poll for eight consecutive years.

Huang has been a frequently cited source for viewpoints on Asia's economy for some time, so his move into academia makes sense -- it's a natural fit for an economist known for seeing the bigger picture and explaining current events in their historical context. But it's also telling of the economy. The golden handcuffs of the banking industry have been thrown aside -- if bonuses are non-existent or shaky, if firms are sure to continue to lay off or encourage people to leave, it makes sense to look to other industries for a change of pace.

But of course, as Huang knows quite well, these downturns are cyclical. So while many may leave now to pursue dream jobs or new adventures, it's entirely likely we'll see some of these bankers return to the fold in the future when the global economy rebounds.

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