Georges Zecchin has been appointed chief executive of Crédit Agricole (Suisse) in Asia. He will be based in Hong Kong and replaces Gilles Fratacci who was based in Singapore and left the bank at the beginning of this year.
Zecchin will be in charge of the teams in Singapore and Hong Kong and will supervise the growth of business in the region. The firm has said it will continue to grow its private banking operation, which has been its core business for more than 130 years.
"Crédit Agricole (Suisse) has decided to extend its private banking platform in Asia by expanding its local staff in order to take advantage of the burgeoning opportunities spurred by economic growth in the region," the firm said in a statement.
The bank has certainly been making steps in this direction. In May, China's largest stockbroker Citic Securities and Credit Agricole announced that they had inked a deal to combine their global brokerage and investment banking businesses.
Located in Hong Kong since 1894 through Banque de l'Indochine, the Hong Kong branch now employs 74 people and plans to hire more staff this year.
The Singapore branch has existed since 1905, also through Banque de l'Indochine. In March 2005, it was renamed Crédit Agricole (Suisse) and currently employs 65 people.
Zecchin began his career in 1974 as a forex dealer. Ten years later, he decided to focus on law, earning a master of law at the University of Geneva. In 1989 he was admitted to the Geneva Bar. He worked first as a partner for a law firm and then as head of the legal department at the Swiss People's Bank. From 1995 to 2001, Zecchin was an investigating magistrate specialising in complex criminal cases with the Geneva judicial authorities.
He joined Crédit Agricole (Suisse) in 2001 as head of compliance. He was subsequently appointed corporate secretary and became a member of the bank's executive committee and of the general management committee. In these positions he dealt with all the legal and regulatory issues concerning the bank, both in Switzerland and internationally, and supervised more than 60 employees in offices around the world (Switzerland, Singapore, Hong Kong and the Bahamas). He also acquired considerable experience in the prevention of money laundering, corruption and terrorist financing.