Reaching for the top

City Talk | Siu Sai-wo 12 Dec 2019

HSBC Holdings has announced the appointment of deputy chairman Laura Cha Shih May-lung as non-executive chairman, making her the leader of the bank's board in Hong Kong.

Women have become a force to be reckoned with in banking, with many more of them taking up top management positions in recent years.

A banking source notes that in fact, HSBC has always had women in its management.

Most notable among them is Lydia Dunn, who was not only a director of HSBC, but also of the British-capital firm the Swire Group.

At the time, Dunn was a member of the Executive Council and was also chairwoman of the Trade Development Council.

A political hotshot, she was subsequently conferred the title of baroness by Britain.

After Dunn, women who were invited to join the HSBC board included Rosanna Wong Yick-ming and Majorie Yang Mun-tak, both local political heavyweights who have served on Exco to offer policy advice to the administration.

Cha, a current Exco member, is also chairman of Hong Kong Exchanges and Clearing, one of the world's top three stock exchanges, as well as a listed company valued at hundreds of billions of dollars. She is the first woman to occupy that position.

She played a part in shaping Hong Kong's financial path when she chaired the Financial Services Development Council.

In her extensive public service portfolio, a more special position is vice chairmanship at mainland's China Securities Regulatory Commission, a post to which no other Hongkonger has ever been appointed.

Now that she has also taken the helm at the board of a major bank, I think it is befitting that we call her a next generation political and financial female superstar.

Siu Sai-wo is publisher of Sing Tao Daily

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