BEIJING, June 28 (Reuters) - China's $500 billion sovereign
wealth fund China Investment Corp (CIC) has appointed
cabinet official Ding Xuedong as its new chairman, two sources
said on Friday, ending a three-month search.
The appointment of Ding, a vice secretary general of China's
cabinet and a former vice finance minister, was announced within
the fund on Friday, a source with knowledge of the situation
"It was announced this afternoon at CIC by the organisation
department," the source said, referring to the China
Organisation Department, which oversees appointments of senior
party, government, military and state-owned enterprise
CIC was not immediately available for comment.
Little is known about Ding, a career official at the finance
ministry who turns 53 this year. He holds a Ph.D in economics
from a Chinese university affiliated with the Finance Ministry.
Ding succeeds Lou Jiwei, who became finance minister in
March. Although a range of officials were tipped to replace Lou
after he left CIC, including former head of China's securities
regulator Guo Shuqing, the fund was without a chairman for three
The leadership vaccum stirred speculation about the
behind-the-scenes power struggles between top leaders of the
Communist Party, who decide the appointments of senior
officials. It also highlighted the opaque ways in which China
picks its senior leaders.
Reuters reported in March that Guo was reluctant to become
CIC chairman as he was only 18 months into his job as the chief
of the securities regulator. Guo is now governor of the eastern
province of Shandong.
CIC was created in 2007 to earn higher returns from riskier
investments such as commodities, private equity, and hedge funds
for part of China's $3.4 trillion foreign exchange reserves.
But not all of the fund's bets have paid off. Its $3 billion
investment in Blackstone Group LP and $1.8 billion
investment in Morgan Stanley lost money, drawing scathing
criticisms from ordinary Chinese.