Newsmaker: Long trek from clerk to chairman of China's AgBank

Mon Jan 16, 2012 7:58am EST
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By Samuel Shen and Jason Subler

SHANGHAI (Reuters) - The new chief of Agricultural Bank of China (601288.SS: Quote) (1288.HK: Quote) brings no-nonsense flair and a strong track record in bank overhauls to the helm of the lumbering Chinese lender where he started out years ago as a filing clerk.

Jiang Chaoliang, President of China Development Bank CHDB.UL since 2008, is to become chairman of AgBank.

He returns to lead a company that was his first employer in banking, having worked his way up from a clerk distributing files and newspapers two decades ago to head its international business by the late 1990s.

During Jiang's three-year reign at China Development Bank, he transformed it from a lender that solely granted loans under government directives into a largely commercial bank, expanding into private equity businesses and with a series of international cooperation deals.

Jiang's efforts to revitalize CDB were capped late last year, when the bank launched its Hong Kong operations and signed a strategic partnership with private equity giants including TPG Capital TPG.UL, KKR KKR.UL and Permira.

It is not the first time the 54-year-old drove changes at a state-owned bank.

During Jiang's four-year stint as Chairman of Bank of Communications (BoCom) (3328.HK: Quote) (601328.SS: Quote) from June 2004, he transformed China's fifth-biggest lender from a struggling operation laden with bad debts into a dual-listed company with HSBC Holdings Plc (HSBA.L: Quote) as strategic investor and partner.

BoCom's successful reincarnation paved the way for the listings of China's "Big Four" state lenders, including AgBank, and built Jiang's reputation as a decisive man with superb negotiation skills.   Continued...