Russian bank VTB Capital announced late last night that it has appointed Damian Chunilal as its Asia chief executive.
Chunilal, a 20-year veteran and well-respected former Merrill Lynch banker, will be based in Hong Kong. According to VTB Capital he will oversee the strategic development and further acceleration of the company’s expansion in financial markets across Asia.
This is a smart plan as peers of Chunilal widely praised him for his strategic guidance when he was chief operating officer for the Pacific Rim and head of Pacific Rim investment banking at Merrill (and a member of the firm’s global operating committee), roles from which he stepped down in 2008 amid the bank’s restructuring as it paired up with Bank of America. At the time, BoA Merrill went through numerous upper management changes in Asia that we described as musical chairs.
Chunilal will report to Atanas Bostandjiev, UK and international CEO for VTB Capital.
VTB Capital officially launched its Hong Kong office on November 15. Last summer, the Hong Kong Securities and Futures Commission issued VTB Capital Hong Kong with a licence to execute investment banking services.
Russian banks, including Renaissance Capital, have been opening representative offices in the region as their corporations are increasingly focusing on China for growth — be it selling coal to the resource-hungry nation or looking to raise money from the mainland. Last year, for example, VTB Capital helped bring the placement for the first renminbi-denominated Eurobond by a Russian issuer. And VTB Capital acted as a joint bookrunner on Russian aluminium producer Rusal’s $2.24 billion Hong Kong IPO in January 2010.
“We are pleased to welcome such experienced market professionals as Damian to our growing international team at VTB Capital. I am confident that under Damian’s leadership our Asian business will see further growth and expansion in the coming years,” said Bostandjiev.