OCBC on January 8 announced the appointment of Helen Wong as Group CEO, effective April 15. She succeeds Samuel Tsien, who is retiring on April 14. When she takes the position, she will be OCBC's first woman CEO, and in fact the very first woman CEO of a Singapore bank. Her appointment was the outcome of a “rigorous global search”, according to the bank's statement.
Wong was previously OCBC's Deputy President and Head of Global Wholesale Banking. She joined the bank in February 2020 from HSBC, where she was Chief Executive of Greater China, heading HSBC's business across Mainland China, Hong Kong SAR, Macau SAR and Taiwan. Before that, she had been Deputy Chairman of HSBC's China subsidiary, Group General Manager, and also President and CEO of the China subsidiary.
Wong has spent her entire 47-year career in banking, having started her very first role with OCBC in Singapore in 1984. She subsequently worked in other banks in Hong Kong before joining HSBC in 1992 and spending the next 27 years there.
In a statement on accepting her new role, Wong praised outgoing CEO Tsien, who had held the position for the past nine years and had the unenviable task of steering the bank through the pandemic last year.
“I am deeply honoured to be succeeding Sam, who is highly regarded and respected, not just in Singapore’s banking industry, but also regionally. I want to thank the Board for the confidence and opportunity to lead one of Asia’s leading financial institutions,” she said. “The team and I will now continue to build on OCBC’s strong foundations to further entrench it as a leading and progressive regional financial institution.”