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RPT-UPDATE 2-OCBC's Wong to be first woman CEO of Singapore bank

Mon 11th January, 2021 12:20am
(Repeats story first published late Friday; no change to text)
    By Anshuman Daga
    SINGAPORE, Jan 8 (Reuters) - Singapore's second-largest
lender, Oversea-Chinese Banking Corp (OCBC)  OCBC.SI , appointed
Deputy President Helen Wong as group CEO, succeeding Samuel
Tsien who is retiring after nearly nine years.
    Wong, 59, will become the first woman to head a Singapore
bank and among the few to lead an Asian bank. The appointment is
effective April 15, OCBC said on Friday.
    In September, Citigroup  C.N  named consumer banking head
Jane Fraser as its next CEO, making her the first woman to lead
a major Wall Street bank.
    Wong's appointment comes as local banks are battling low
interest rates and weak growth in pandemic-hit markets. Lenders
are also soaking up bad loans as regulators prepare to ease
conditions for billions of dollars in lending moratoriums.
    Kevin Kwek, senior analyst at Sanford C. Bernstein, said
that given Wong's China experience, he expects OCBC, Southeast
Asia's second-largest bank after DBS Group Holdings  DBSM.SI ,
to retain its focus on the world's second-biggest economy.
    Wong joined OCBC in February 2020 from HSBC Holdings
 HSBA.L , where she ran the bank's Greater China operations, and
had been widely viewed by analysts as a frontrunner for Tsien's
role. She had spent 27 years at HSBC.
    "Helen's experiences and expertise extend beyond corporate
banking, Greater China and North Asia," OCBC Chairman Ooi Sang
Kuang said in the statement.
    Wong will now lead a bank where she started her banking
career in 1984 as a management trainee in Singapore.
    Tsien, 66, who joined OCBC in 2007, led the bank to boost
its presence in Greater China with a $5 billion acquisition of
Hong Kong's Wing Hang Bank in 2014.
    Under his tenure, OCBC also expanded its wealth management
business by buying Barclays'  BARC.L  Singapore and Hong Kong
wealth business operations in 2016.
    OCBC more than doubled its net profit to S$4.87 billion 
($3.68 billion) in 2019 from S$2.31 billion in 2011.
    
($1 = 1.3243 Singapore dollars)

 (Reporting by Anshuman Daga. Editing by Jane Merriman and
Louise heavens)
 ((anshuman.daga@tr.com; +65 64035676;))
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