Head of China Merchants Bank resigns

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Ma Weihua has ended his decade-long tenure asCommunist Party of China (CPC) chief of the China Merchants Bank (CMB), the bankannounced late Wednesday.

Tian Huiyu, the head of China Construction Bank's Beijing subsidiary, will be appointedas the new head of CMB, the country's sixth-largest lender by market value, the banksaid.

Ma did not wish to assume a major role at the bank because of his age, the bank said.His term as CMB president will end in June.

Ma started his job as CMB president 14 years ago, when the bank, with only 100 billionyuan (16.13 billion U.S. dollars) in assets, was reeling from the Asian financial crisis.Ma won recognition by managing reforms that optimized the bank's structure andboosted efficiency.

"Ma demonstrated strong strategic thinking and a global perspective. He pushedforward two important reforms that made our bank a leading business in China," said asenior CMB executive who worked closely with Ma for years.

"He was the one who built the bank's retailing," said the executive, who requestedanonymity. Retailing accounted for nearly 40 percent of CMB's profits last year.

"The change will not affect our evaluation of the bank," said Yu Minhua, a financialindustry analyst at Zhong De Securities, a joint venture formed by Deutsche Bank andShanxi Securities.

"Tian has a background in retailing. He fits the job, as retailing is his bank's mainbusiness. Senior executives from China Construction Bank tend to be steady leaders.Therefore, CMB is unlikely to change much," Yu added.

Tian, who was also responsible for retail business at China Construction Bank, hasbeen lauded for the rich work experience and asset management know-how heacquired during his 10-year bank management career, as well as the five years hespent working at China Cinda Asset Management Co.

Tian has a master's degree in public administration from Columbia University.

CMB's profits increased 25.31 percent from a year earlier to reach 45.27 billion yuan in2012. Its first-quarter profits stood at 13.02 billion yuan, ranking first among thecountry's joint-stock banks, CMB financial reports showed.

The company is listed on exchanges in Shanghai, Hong Kong and the United States.Its shares climbed 0.08 percent to close at 12.5 yuan per share on the Shanghaibourse on Wednesday.

BEIJING, 2013 May 8 (Xinhua)