In the latest in a series of announcements relating to its China joint venture, Goldman Sachs Gaohua, the firm announced that Richard Ong will be moving to the JV and Tim Leissner will move to Singapore to assume OngÆs current position.

As we reported on Tuesday, Joe Stevens, COO of the JV unexpectedly departed Goldman Sachs Gaohua for a sponsorÆs role at Standard Chartered. This was followed by an announcement from the firm that CEO, Bill Wicker, would be relinquishing his China responsibilities and returning to New York to assume a role in the natural resources group.

Naturally, the two changes coming within hours of each other suggest they are inter-related. It is speculated that Stevens was aware that he would not be offered WickerÆs job and chose to resign rather then continue as COO.

Ong has been co-president, Goldman Sachs, Singapore since 2004. He became a partner in 2000, which makes him one of the longest-serving partners in the region. Ong will step into WickerÆs shoes as both CEO of Goldman Sachs Gaohua and co-head of the investment banking division in Asia ex-Japan (with Mark Machin). Ong started at Goldman Sachs in 1993. Prior to that he worked with Chase Manhattan Bank, Prudential Bache Securities and Citigroup.

Ong will be replaced by Tim Leissner who has led investment banking services in Asia ex-Japan since 2005. Leissner will be co-president with Oral Dawe. Leissner joined Goldman Sachs in the M&A group in 1998. He has previously held the position of head of investment banking in Singapore and his move back to Singapore is widely seen as a natural succession in a region he is very familiar with. Earlier, Leissner had worked with Lehman Brothers and JPMorgan.