Helen Wong replaces Richard Yorke as HSBC China CEO

Wong, who takes the step up from deputy CEO, has more than 25 years of commercial and investment banking experience in Greater China and the Asia-Pacific region.
Helen Wong
Helen Wong

HSBC has appointed Helen Wong as president and chief executive officer of the bank's operations in China. Wong, who is currently the deputy CEO and an executive director of the board of HSBC China, will succeed Richard Yorke, whose next move will be announced in due course, the bank said in a statement released last Friday.

The appointment will become effective upon obtaining regulatory approvals. 

Wong will be based in Shanghai, where the bank's China headquarters are located, and will report to Peter Wong, the bank's Asia-Pacific CEO.

"China is a key focus of our emerging markets strategy and the growth engine of the global economy. Helen's extensive banking experience and knowledge of the Greater China region will continue to build on our position as the leading international bank in China," Peter Wong, said in the statement.

A HSBC China spokesperson described Helen Wong as "an extremely talented executive" and said her appointment reflects the succession plan the bank has for key positions.

Having graduated from the University of Hong Kong in 1983 with a bachelor of social sciences degree, Wong has clocked up more than 25 years of commercial and investment banking experience in Greater China and the Asia-Pacific region. She joined HSBC in 1992 and has held various positions, including manager of syndicated finance, senior capital markets manager and head of debt capital markets. Her leading roles in spearheading projects and new businesses that have supported the expansion of HSBC's capital markets franchise in Asia have won her much recognition.

She was appointed deputy CEO of HSBC China in September 2009, a move that was made in order to help Wong get familiar with the upcoming post, sources familiar with the situation said, noting that such appointments are standard practice at HSBC.

Indeed, Yorke was appointed deputy CEO of the China business in June 2004 and became China CEO a year later. When HSBC established the locally incorporated HSBC Bank (China) in Shanghai in April 2007, Yorke automatically became president and CEO of the new entity.

Apart from carrying out his duties with HSBC in Shanghai, Yorke has been very active when it comes to the development of the local community, which won him the title of "Honorary Citizen of Shanghai" last summer. He is also a director of the Foreign Bank Working Committee at the China Banking Association (CBA).

He joined HSBC in 1989, and has served in a wide range of international positions across the group.

HSBC is one of the largest foreign banks in China with 99 outlets comprising 22 branches and 77 sub-branches in 23 cities. In a recent interview with FinanceAsia, Yorke said the bank plans to expand its footprint further in the coming years by adding outlets in three to five new cities and opening up to 15 sub-branches in existing cities each year.

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