UBS has announced the key hire of David Li Yi in a newly created post of chairman and country head for China. With effect from 1 June, Li will assume responsibility for coordinating and fully exploiting the opportunities between the firm's entire Mainland business lines, while reporting to Rory Tapner, chairman and chief executive officer of UBS in Asia-Pacific.

Li heads to the UBS role, which will see him travel between Hong Kong, Beijing and Shanghai, from China Merchants Holdings (International), where he held the title of managing director from November 2001 to May 2005. Under this post, Li had responsibility for refocusing strategy on the port industry and restructuring business lines through asset swaps, M&A and divestments, to accommodate the company's new strategy.

Under Li's watch, CMHI enjoyed an extremely fruitful run and an expansion phase. He is widely credited with transforming the company from a multi-investment company into an industry leading port operation. During Li's term at the helm, the company also increased net profit 2.5 times and its share price almost quadrupled.

During his tenure, CMHI was also added to the benchmark Heng Sang Index and in 2004, was its third best performing constituent.

Prior to the executive position at CMHI, Li was the China-based executive vice president of China Merchants Securities with responsibility for building and developing its investment banking services.

Before the relocation to the Mainland in 1999, his CV was bolstered by several posts at Citicorp in New York. From 1995 to 1996, Li was also the chairman of the China Finance Society in New York.

Outside of the corporate world, Li has also held the title of vice chairman of the National Student Federation in China and between 1976 and 1980, played professional football at the Shaanxi Professional Soccer Club.

"David's demonstrated excellence in both strategy development and implementation will complement our already strong China team," says Tapner. "As our businesses in China continue to expand, exploiting opportunities across the breadth of our group will become ever more critical."