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China ICBC's chairman set to retire: media

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Jiang Jianqing, chairman of Industrial and Commercial Bank of China Ltd (ICBC) , is poised to retire, the China Business News reported on Thursday.

[BEIJING] Jiang Jianqing, chairman of Industrial and Commercial Bank of China Ltd (ICBC) , is poised to retire, the China Business News reported on Thursday.

Mr Jiang, 63, has been leading China's biggest bank for 16 years since 2000. He led ICBC through its insolvency crisis when its non-performing loan ratio was more than 20 per cent in 2004, and a US$19.1 billion dual listing in 2006 - the world's biggest initial public offering at that time.

On Wednesday, ICBC held an internal meeting and revealed the move, but the exact timing of Mr Jiang's departure, and his successor, are unclear, according to the report.

Contacted by Reuters for comment, a Beijing-based spokesman for ICBC said it would a timely disclosure of key personnel changes but had nothing to announce at the moment.

As China's economic growth stalls, the country's Big Four banks are seeing margins squeezed by the central bank's successive rate cuts and profitability and capital buffers eroded by rising bad debt.

ICBC reported flat earnings for the first quarter this year.

Shares of ICBC fell 0.49 per cent in Hong Kong by the close on Thursday.

REUTERS