As its business expands in China, Standard & Poor's has announced the key appointment of Dr Joseph Hu as its new country head. In his new role, Hu will work out of the rating agency's Beijing offices and will report directly to Tom Schiller, S&P's Asia-Pacific regional head.

Responding to the demands of investors and other market participants for enhanced China coverage, Hu will manage the firm's expanding activities, which includes financial analysis, information and benchmarks. His appointment also follows increased interest in the ratings agency's risk management services for larger Chinese banks, which are developing enhanced internal ratings systems to comply with the Basel II global capital adequacy regime.

Hu moves to the posting internally from the New York-based role of managing director in S&P's structured finance ratings group. Prior to this position, Hu was managing director and head of mortgage research at US securities firm Oppenheimer & Co. His resume also consists of senior research roles at Nomura Securities International, Shearson Lehman Hutton and Salomon Brothers.

In addition to private sector roles, Hu has also served as economist for the Federal National Mortgage Association in the US and as assistant professor at the economics department of the University of Maine.

He takes over the role from Sha Sha Chang, who was recently named chief representative for China at McGraw-Hill, the parent company of S&P.