Credit Suisse loses top China banker, reshuffles team

Abrupt departure of lender's most senior China banker, Mervyn Chow, triggers leadership shake-up – just three months after the last changes. Chow is set for a private equity job.

Credit Suisse has shaken up the leadership of its investment banking unit, in a reshuffle triggered by the abrupt departure of its most senior China banker, Mervyn Chow, who is said to be joining China-focused private equity Hillhouse Capital.

The latest move came as a surprise to the banking industry, as the Zurich-based bank promoted Chow twice last year. He was most recently promoted to CEO for Greater China in October, after being named as the CEO for China in February.

After his tenure with Credit Suisse, Chow is said to be taking a senior role at Hillhouse Capital, a $35 billion private equity firm founded by Lei Zhang in 2005, a source told FinanceAsia.

With $20 million of seed capital from the endowment fund of Yale University, Hillhouse has made its name for betting on some of the most successful internet startups and entrepreneurs in China including Tencent, Baidu and

Neither Chow nor Credit Suisse responded to requests for comment on his next move. An external spokeswoman for Hillhouse declined to comment.

Credit Suisse announced on Monday it was promoting Zeth Hung to be co-head of investment banking and capital markets for the Asia-Pacific region, overseeing the bank’s most important clients in the region.

Previously Greater China head for the unit, Hung will work closely with his Singapore counterpart Edwin Low to expand the bank’s client base and identify opportunities to deliver a wide range of solutions to its regional clients.

Before joining the Swiss bank in 1998, Hung worked in the corporate and project finance team of BZW Asia, which was later acquired by Credit Suisse. As one of the most seasoned Chinese dealmakers, Hung executed a wide range of corporate finance and capital markets transactions including ICBC’s $21 billion dual offering, China Construction Bank’s $9.2 billion IPO and China Life’s $3.5 billion dual listing.

As part of the reshuffle, Carsten Stoehr will assume the role of Greater China CEO in addition to his responsibilities as head of the Asia Pacific financing group and chairman of its two Hong Kong units.

In his new role, Stoehr will lead the lender’s regional strategy and oversee its legal entities and local regulatory relationships in China.

Since Tidjane Thiam took over as chief executive in July 2015, he has focused the bank on wealth management and investment banking advisory services, reducing its reliance on trading-related businesses.

In November, Credit Suisse announced its profitability targets for the first time as it promised to give back half of its profits to shareholders once its three-year restructuring programme ended this year. Under its projection, the return on equity, a measure of profitability, will increase to 10 to 11% for next year, and 11 to 12% in 2020.

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