UPDATE1-BNP Paribas appoints China banking chairwoman

Mon Aug 10, 2009 6:05am EDT

* Margaret Ren is new BNP Paribas China banking chairman

* Ren to lead bank's China investment banking strategy

* Veteran banker Ren left Bank of America earlier this year

HONG KONG, Aug 10 (Reuters) - BNP Paribas (BNPP.PA) has appointed Margaret Ren, a star China banker and a relative of China's former premier, as chairwoman and chief executive of its Corporate Finance for Greater China.

Ren, a former managing director and chairwoman of China Investment Banking at Merrill Lynch (Asia-Pacific), will report to Christian de Charnace, BNP Paribas head of corporate finance for Asia-Pacific, the bank said in a statement.

BNP Paribas said it planned to expand its investment banking capabilities in the Greater China region under Ren's leadership.

"She is a pioneer in investment banking in China and as a result we have a significant opportunity to further strengthen our strategic dialogue with clients by expanding our investment banking capabilities in Greater China," said Mignonne Cheng, head of North Asia, BNP Paribas.

Paul Yang, head of corporate finance for Greater China, will continue with his current role, reporting to Ren.

Ren, daughter-in-law of former Chinese premier Zhao Ziyang, was a star banker at Merrill, which was bought earlier this year by Bank of America (BAC.N).

BofA's purchase of Merrill rescued the New York brokerage from near collapse. But the financial struggles of BofA since the deal have led to a large wave of defections by top Merrill talent across the globe.

Merrill hired Ren in February 2007, at a time when Chinese investment banking revenues were soaring past the $1 billion mark for the industry.

Prior to Merrill, Ren was a top banker at Citigroup (C.N), although she was suspended by the bank in June 2004 over an inquiry into the December 2003 $3.5 billion IPO of China Life Insurance Co , in which she played a key role.

Ren left Citigroup soon after the suspension and was cleared of any wrongdoing by the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission in 2006.

Media reports at the time of her Merrill hiring said Ren holds a master's degree from Princeton University in the United States, and is the daughter of former Guangdong Party Secretary Ren Zhongyi. (Reporting by Leonora Walet; Editing by Chris Lewis)

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