(Yicai Global) March 19 -- Yi Gang has been named the next governor of the People’s Bank of China, replacing 70-year-old Zhou Xiaochuan, who is retiring after 15 years. Zhou’s long-serving deputy will become the central bank’s 12th head, the country’s legislature said today.
A China and US-educated economist, Yi comes armed with an intimate knowledge of China’s financial system and global financial markets. He has pursued a more than 20-year career as a central bank official and has been a fixture at critical junctures in recent years, conveying PBOC’s position and explaining policies.
Yi will be subordinate to Politburo member Liu He, who is also a leading economic adviser to President Xi Jinping, the Financial Times reported today. Yi, 60, has served as PBOC’s deputy governor since 2008 and headed the foreign exchange regulator, a semi-autonomous PBOC division, between 2009 and 2016.
Yi has appeared on the international stage repeatedly over the past decade, coming into the spotlight on occasions like the annual meetings of the World Bank Group and the International Monetary Fund (IMF), as well as those of the G20 finance ministers and central bank governors.
He previously oversaw PBOC’s monetary policy and international business. He has participated in almost all the crucial events in China’s financial reform over the past decade, such as the formation of the yuan exchange rate mechanism, interest rate liberalization, and the yuan’s inclusion in the IMF’s Special Drawing Rights basket of reserve currency credits.
Born March 5, 1958 in Beijing, Yi was among the first Chinese students to go to university after the country restarted its university entrance exam following the Cultural Revolution. He graduated from the prestigious Peking University in 1980 and went on to study at Hamline University in the US state of Minnesota before research work for an economics PhD at the University of Illinois in the same state. He later became a tenured professor at Indiana University.