SHANGHAI, China – Shenzhen Development Bank announced Wednesday it has appointed a pair of American financial experts as board chairman and president, the first foreigners to hold such positions with a mainland Chinese bank.
The appointment of incoming chairman John Langlois, a Morgan Stanley officer in China, comes as part of a transfer of a nearly 18 percent stake in state-owned Shenzhen Bank to U.S. firm Newbridge Capital Ltd.
In a notice posted in the China Securities Journal, the bank said Langlois would serve as acting chairman while the China Banking Regulatory Commission reviews the appointment.
Jeffrey Williams, a former executive with Standard Chartered Bank, Citibank and American Express, will replace He Ru as acting president during the review period, the notice said.
Both men have considerable experience with the Chinese banking industry. Williams opened Citigroup Inc. subsidiary Citibank’s first Chinese branch in Shenzhen in 1988. Langlois sits on the boards of both Shanghai Bank and Nanjing City Commercial Bank.
The appointments mark a further opening of China’s banking sector to foreign expertise in hopes of improving management in preparation for meeting World Trade Organization commitments to allow foreign banks to compete on an equal footing with Chinese institutions by 2006.
Beijing has allowed limited foreign investment in its banks, but limits a single foreign investor to no more than 20 percent of a Chinese bank.