OCBC appoints Helen Wong as new group CEO as Samuel Tsien retires

Fri, Jan 08, 2021 – 5:56 PM

OCBC has appointed Helen Wong as its new group chief executive officer (CEO) from April 15.

Ms Wong takes over from Samuel Tsien, who will retire after 14 years with the bank, nine of which were as group CEO, said the lender in a statement on Friday. Having significantly built the OCBC franchise into a “much more diversified and resilient” business, Mr Tsien will retire on April 14.

Ms Wong will be the first female CEO of OCBC and also the first woman to head a Singapore bank.

Ms Wong joined OCBC in February last year as deputy president and head of global wholesale banking. She started her career in banking with OCBC in 1984, and was its first China desk manager.

OCBC chairman Ooi Sang Kuang said the appointment marks the board’s focus on succession planning and talent management, which are critical aspects of good corporate governance. 

The appointment was the result of a “rigorous global search” for the best qualified candidate who embodies both the capability to “redefine” OCBC’s strategy in light of challenges and opportunities and the bank’s core values.   

“We had looked at candidates internally in OCBC and within and outside Singapore before we agreed on Helen as the best qualified person. Helen’s experiences and expertise extend beyond corporate banking, Greater China and North Asia. She also ran a large banking operation of a global bank as the chief executive of Greater China, including Hong Kong, prior to joining OCBC. We are confident that Helen will be able to lead the OCBC Group to greater heights in an increasingly complex and challenging environment,” said Mr Ooi.

Shares of OCBC closed up S$0.41 to S$10.73 on Friday. 

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