HSBC Picks Malaysia Chief to Lead Its Belt and Road Initiative

(Bloomberg) -- HSBC Holdings Plc appointed Mukhtar Hussain, currently Malaysia chief executive, to the newly created role as head of the bank’s Belt and Road Initiative for the Asia-Pacific region.

Hussain, who joined the U.K. bank in 1982, will move to Hong Kong and start the position on July 1, London-based HSBC said in an emailed statement Monday.

Chinese President Xi Jinping is promoting his Belt and Road trade-and-infrastructure program in a bid to expand the nation’s influence abroad. The move provides opportunities for banks including HSBC, which has pledged to shift more than $100 billion of capital and boost operations in China as part of its so-called pivot to Asia.

Xi has outlined what he calls a “project of the century,” a decades-long drive to grease the wheels of trade with infrastructure projects costing tens or even hundreds of billions of dollars. Typical plans include the development of ports in Malaysia and Tanzania or highways in Pakistan and Tajikistan.

In his most recent roles, Hussain was deputy chairman of HSBC Bank Middle East and global chief executive officer of Islamic banking unit HSBC Amanah, according to the statement. He will continue to report to Peter Wong, chief executive of the bank’s Asia business.

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