SINGAPORE: Oversea-Chinese Banking Corporation's (OCBC Bank) Deputy President and Head of Global Wholesale Banking Helen Wong will take over as Group Chief Executive Officer from Apr 15, the bank announced in a media release on Friday (Jan 8).
She succeeds Mr Samuel Tsien, who is retiring on Apr 14.
Ms Wong, 59, will become the first woman to head a Singapore bank.
She was appointed after a global search for the best qualified candidate and marks the Board’s focus on succession planning and talent management which are critical aspects of good corporate governance, said OCBC.
“We had looked at candidates internally in OCBC, and within and outside Singapore before we agreed on Helen as the best qualified person," said Mr Ooi Sang Kuang, chairman of OCBC Bank.
Mr Ooi also thanked Mr Tsien for his contributions, noting that “in his nine years as the Group CEO, Sam has significantly built the OCBC franchise into a much more diversified and resilient business.
"On behalf of the Board, management and staff of the OCBC Group, we wish Sam a delightful retirement.”
On accepting her new role, Ms Wong said she was "deeply honoured to be succeeding Sam".
"In the past one year, with the COVID-19 pandemic breaking out right after I joined OCBC, I have witnessed Sam’s sound judgment and worked hand-in-hand with many talented and like-minded individuals."
Ms Wong has more than 35 years of banking experience. She first joined OCBC Bank in 1984 and was the bank's first China desk manager.
She was previously appointed group general manager of HSBC Group in 2011 and her last position with the bank was chief executive of HSBC Greater China, with Hong Kong as her base.
Ms Wong returned to OCBC Bank in February 2020 as Deputy President and Head of Global Wholesale Banking.