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CICC chief executive Bi Mingjian steps down

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Via Financial Times

Bi Mingjian will step down as chief executive of state-backed CICC after helping revive the equity capital markets and securities broking businesses of China’s first investment bank.

The head of investment banking at CICC, Huang Zhaohui, will replace him, according to a company statement, taking a role previously held by some of China’s most powerful political elite.

David Bonderman, the American billionaire and founding partner of US private equity group TPG Capital, will also step down as a non-executive director, in one of seven personnel changes to CICC’s board.

Founded in 1995 as a joint venture between Morgan Stanley and China Construction Bank, CICC was for many years considered the investment bank of choice for China’s state-owned enterprises.

With Wang Qishan, China’s vice-president and a right-hand man to President Xi Jinping, serving as its first chairman, and Levin Zhu, the son of former premier Zhu Rongji, as a former chief executive, the bank had a direct line to the country’s highest reaches of power. Private equity groups KKR and TPG later bought Morgan Stanley’s stake following management clashes.

More recently, while the bank has managed to pick up roles on many overseas transactions carried out by government-controlled groups, it has faced increasingly strong competition from state-owned rivals such as Citic Securities.

Mr Bi did not offer the bank an elite profile comparable to his predecessor, Mr Zhu, when he took control in 2015. But he is credited with helping CICC transition towards more sustainable revenues with the acquisition of onshore broker China Investment Securities in 2016, a deal that bolstered CICC’s onshore broking operations.

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“Before Bi became CEO, CICC suffered a period of market loss,” said Karen Sui, an analyst at CMB International Capital Corp in Hong Kong. “He helped change the whole revenue structure of the bank.”

The bank claimed the number two spot for equity capital markets revenues in Asia excluding Japan in 2019, according to data from Dealogic, climbing back from fifth position between 2015 and 2018, and beating western rivals such as Morgan Stanley and Goldman Sachs. Only Citic Securities brought in more revenues in that line of business this year.

Mr Bi, who is 64, also introduced China’s largest internet and technology groups, Alibaba and Tencent, as shareholders in the bank. Tencent bought a 4.95 per cent stake in CICC in 2017 and Alibaba followed with a similar investment in 2019.

The incoming chief, 55-year-old Mr Huang, has been CICC’s head of investment banking since 2013. He joined the bank in 1998, three years after it was founded, according to an official biography. Before he joined CICC, he worked for China Construction Bank, one of the country’s big four state-owned commercial lenders.

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