Hong Kong’s stock exchange named Nicolas Aguzin, who heads JPMorgan Chase & Co.’s international private bank, as its new chief executive officer.
After a protracted search, the 52-year-old banker was appointed to a three-year term as the top boss at Hong Kong Exchanges & Clearing Ltd., according to a statement that confirmed an earlier Bloomberg News report. He will replace Charles Li, also a former JPMorgan banker, who announced his resignation in May and left at the end of last year after a decade at the helm.
“Aguzin’s extensive experience in Hong Kong, mainland China, Asia and globally, and his deep knowledge of global capital markets, will help HKEX continue to build its competitiveness,” the company said in a statement. It will “support the ongoing growth and development of Hong Kong’s unique financial markets,” it said.
The pick of an outsider with deep roots in the international finance community comes as China’s tightening grip on the former British colony has raised concerns about the city’s status as a financial hub. He’s also stepping in as the bourse is riding a boom in big Chinese company listings and inflows of mainland cash.
In its long search, the board had been split between picking a candidate who can operate with confidence in China or one with a strong international background, people familiar have said. Aguzin, known as “Gucho,” will start on May 24, subject to approval by Hong Kong’s Securities and Futures Commission.
The incoming CEO will need to build on Li’s success over the past years in linking the exchange closer to China, while also facing increased competition from mainland bourses in Shanghai and Shenzhen.
He’ll be working under chairman Laura Cha, who’s well-connected in China and sees the bourse’s role as serving Beijing’s interests and avoiding competition with the mainland, a person has said. Cha moved to tighten control over the bourse late in Li’s tenure, asserting more board control over hiring and placing checks and balances on strategic decisions, a person has said.