State Street has promoted KK Tse, head of State Street's Investor Services business in Asia, to executive vice president, making him the first Asian employee to reach that level. In the firm's hierarchy, the EVPs slot in beneath four vice chairmen who in turn report to the president and the chairman.

"Most of the executive vice presidents are in Boston or other US offices and most overseas are Americans," Tse says. "State Street's objective is to globalize its top management, so I think there will be more promotions outside of the US. I think the idea is that other managers will say, 'Gee, if KK got promoted, maybe I can get promoted too.' "

Tse joined in 1993 and is responsible for growing the firm's business in Asia ex-Japan. He increases its visibility by cultivating relationships with key clients and works closely with other State Street product groups. He also chairs the Asia market board, which implements corporate strategy. He continues to report to Bob Williams, another EVP responsible for Asia-Pacific and Latin America, who is based in Boston.

Tse notes the promotion is a recognition for his performance and does not signal any immediate change in his responsibilities.

Prior to joining State Street, Tse worked at Standard Chartered Bank, Ogilvy and Mather, Barings Securities and the Hong Kong government.