CLSA hires CG Wu as China chairman

The former vice-chairman for Asia-Pacific at Morgan Stanley will be responsible for all of CLSA's businesses in China.
Former Morgan Stanley banker Changgen Wu, better known as CG Wu, has joined CLSA as chairman of China and vice-chairman for Asia, according to a release. This is a new position that will make Wu responsible for all of CLSAÆs businesses in China, including investment banking, private equity and broking. He will be based in Hong Kong, but will travel frequently to China.

This is one of the most senior hires CLSA has made for some time and, according to chairman Rob Morrison, it reflects the ôexponential growthö that the firm has seen across all business areas in recent years. When he left Morgan Stanley at the end of January, Wu was vice-chairman for Asia-Pacific.

A seasoned investment banker with a background as vice-chairman and CEO of Bank of China International (BOCI), Wu has extensive and valuable relationships in China that will no doubt be useful to CLSA. Over the past few years, CLSAÆs investment banking group has completed a number of equity capital markets and M&A transactions for Chinese companies, including Group SEBÆs $470 million acquisition of just over 52% in Zhejiang Supor in 2007. This was the first acquisition of a majority stake by a foreign investor in an A-share listed company through a public offer, share transfer and new share issue, according to the release.

The research-driven brokerage and investment group, which is headquartered in Hong Kong, has also invested about $100 million in Chinese companies through its own private equity arm, CLSA Capital Partners, since 2000, delivering year-on-year returns to its investors. In 2003, the firm set up China Euro Securities - a joint venture with Fortune Securities in which CLSA owns 33% and does not have operational control. Still, the JV allows CLSA to share some of the profits from ChinaÆs lucrative domestic market. The JV underwrites equity, equity-linked and debt securities, but does not have a licence to provide A-share brokerage services.

ôCLSA is an exciting place to be right now; 2007 was our most successful year and the fact that (Wu) has joined us is very telling of the calibre of people this company attracts,ö Morrison said in a written statement.

Wu, who joined Morgan Stanley in 1998, was initially co-head of China IBD (investment banking department) together with Jonathan Zhu and took on sole responsibility for the department when Zhu became China CEO. He was promoted to vice-chairman for Asia-Pacific when Zhu left the bank in January 2006. However, some sources say WuÆs role had become somewhat eroded since Wei Christianson returned to Morgan Stanley in early 2006 to replace Zhu as China CEO.

According to the CLSA release, Wu was directly involved in the IPOs of China Unicom and Sinopec in 2000 and later in the IPOs of Aluminum Corp of China, China Telecom, PICC Property and Casualty and China Construction Bank. Last year he worked on the Hong Kong listing of steel- and property-focused conglomerate Fosun International.

Wu worked with the Bank of China group between 1980 and 1997 holding several different positions, including those at BOCI. He was also a member of the BOC board of directors.
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