China could replace the country’s long-serving central bank chief, Zhou Xiaochuan, as part of a wider personnel shuffle, the Wall Street Journal reported Wednesday, citing sources within the Communist Party.
The discussions about Zhou come as President Xi Jinping tries to place more allies into top positions in the government, the sources were quoted as saying.
The personnel shifts are expected around a major party conclave to be held in October, the sources said, while cautioning that no final decision has been made about Zhou.
The top contender to succeed Zhou at the People’s Bank of China (PBoC) is Guo Shuqing, a former banker and top securities regulator who is currently governor of Shandong province, according to the report.
Should Zhou be replaced, his departure will be portrayed as a matter of his age, the report said. The PBoC chief is now 66 years old, past the usual retirement age of 65 for senior Chinese officials.
President Xi named Zhou to a third term in March 2013.
Over the past few months, Zhou has continued to press for market changes, including liberalizing interest rates. The Chinese leadership, meanwhile, has become concerned that overhauls now will place another burden on an economy that is struggling to meet the government’s target of 7.5 percent annual growth, the report noted.
While the Journal couldn’t reach Zhou for comment, the PBoC told the paper that its chief wouldn’t be stepping down soon.
– Contact us at [email protected]