Ding Xuedong, chairman and chief executive of China’s $810 billion sovereign wealth fund, China Investment Corporation (CIC) has stepped down from his post, according to a report from Caixin citing sources with knowledge of the matter.
It is not clear who will replace Ding and what his plans are after leaving CIC. Local media reports, however, indicate that Ding’s departure from CIC signals he may be in line for a higher level post in the country’s economic team, ahead of a leadership reshuffle in Beijing’s five-yearly national congress late this year.
Ding took over from Li Jiqun who resigned in 2013 to join the Asian Infrastructure Investment Bank. Prior to joining CIC, Ding served as deputy secretary general at China’s State Council, from 2010 to 2013. He was also a former vice minister at the Ministry of Finance from 2008 to 2010.
Ding was responsible for steering the sovereign wealth fund’s pool of assets, created in 2007 to help China earn higher returns on its foreign exchange reserves, which to date amounts to $3 trillion.
Ding has been vocal about shifting CIC’s focus to global investments, particularly in the US. Under his watch CIC set up a new direct investment unit in 2015 called CIC Capital to more directly oversee the fund’s investments abroad. In the same year, CIC also moved its North America outpost from Toronto to New York.
Most recently in January this year, Ding told the Asian Financial Forum in Hong Kong that CIC would step up investments in US infrastructure and property, in order to better “manage global uncertainties by maintaining a diversified portfolio”.
CIC now maintains about 40 percent of its portfolio in alternative investments which includes private equity, real estate, infrastructure and hedge funds. In its latest annual report published in July last year, CIC said its proportion of co-investments and club deals in its portfolio rose, as the fund sought out more strategic partnerships with a “a few outstanding managers”.
CIC is an active investor in Asia-focused private equity firms including AGIC Group’s Asia-Germany Industrial Promotion Capital I, Hong Kong-based RRJ Capital’s RRJ Capital II, and WestSummit Capital’s China Ireland Technology Growth Capital Fund, according to PEI data.
Earlier this month CIC teamed up with Temasek Holdings, Beijing-based Silk Road Fund and Hopu Investment Management to launch the Hou An Innovation Fund, a vehicle targeting $800 million that will make investments in mobile internet and artificial intelligence companies globally.
CIC could not be reached for comment by press time.