Few executives get to steer their company to the world's biggest initial public offering in history. For Agricultural Bank of China Ltd. Executive Vice President Pan Gongsheng, it's becoming old hat.
Mr. Pan has been the point man on AgBank's IPO, helping guide the state-owned lender's restructuring and coordinating between its management, government owners, investment bankers, and foreign investors and regulators to bring it to market. The deal, which priced Tuesday, could raise $22.1 billion if the overallotment options are exercised, making it the biggest IPO ever and breaking a record set in 2006 by Industrial & Commercial Bank of China Ltd., where Mr. Pan played the same role guiding its $21.9 billion share sale.
Wednesday, AgBank said it had exercised the overallotment option on the Shanghai portion, pushing the total deal size to $20.53 billion. It hasn't commented on the Hong Kong option.
To help ensure the deal hits that mark, AgBank is taking the unusual move of tapping retail investors in Japan, a person familiar with the situation said Wednesday. The decision to sell a portion of the shares slated to list in Hong Kong to individual investors overseas comes as demand for AgBank shares among Hong Kong residents has been fairly lackluster, particularly compared with the frenzy of interest that greeted the IPOs of the bank's peers.
The 46-year-old Mr. Pan is one of the brightest rising stars in China's financial firmament. In addition to spearheading ICBC's and AgBank's IPOs, he played a key role in ICBC's purchase of a 20% stake in Standard Bank Group Ltd., Africa's largest lender by assets, in October 2008.
A career bureaucrat, Mr. Pan exemplifies a small but growing group of financial technocrats in China's state sector who are not only expert at navigating the Communist Party bureaucracy but also internationally savvy and able to interact easily with financial professionals.
'I think he represents a new breed,' says Fred Hu, who retired earlier this year as Greater China chairman for Goldman Sachs Group Inc., which bought a stake in ICBC ahead of its IPO. 'He grew up from within the system. He's extremely qualified. He's market-savvy, he's forward-looking and global-minded.'
Private-sector finance jobs in China, like those at big foreign investment banks, are dominated by Chinese who spent years studying and working abroad before returning. Mr. Hu earned a doctorate in economics at Harvard University and worked at the International Monetary Fund in Washington, D.C., before joining Goldman in 1997.
But such returnees -- known in Chinese as haigui, or 'sea turtles' -- have yet to penetrate the leadership of China's state banks. Most of the top managers there, who are appointed to their posts by the government, have limited experience outside China, although their companies are becoming important international players.
While returnees often chaff against the constraints of China's state sector, people who know Mr. Pan say he knows how to work with the system to get things done. Though he prefers Mandarin, he can converse in English, especially when it comes to industry jargon.
The AgBank deal is a risk for Mr. Pan. Even if the size of the IPO surpasses that of ICBC, it still falls short of the bank's goal to raise as much as $30 billion.
Similarly, poor performance for the shares afterward could be a setback for his career.
Though he has a boyish face that makes him look younger than his years, Mr. Pan's hair has grayed visibly in the run-up to the AgBank IPO, all the more noticeable since most senior political and corporate officials in China dye their hair.
Still, those who have known him say he has become more confident in the years since ICBC's IPO and more assertive about China's way of doing things. Some see that as reflecting a newfound boldness in China's financial world since the global crisis brought many Western lenders low and left Chinese banks among the world's healthiest and biggest.
Mr. Pan declined to comment for this article.
Mr. Pan joined ICBC after completing his doctorate in economics on China's labor market at Renmin University in Beijing in 1993. As part of the bank's efforts to give promising middle managers overseas exposure, he spent a year at Cambridge University's Judge Business School in the U.K. as a post-doctoral research fellow from October 1997, and followed up with a year of working for Standard Chartered PLC in the U.K. while on temporary assignment from ICBC.
Moving back to China, Mr. Pan held a series of posts at ICBC, moving his way up the ladder.
Mr. Hu first met Mr. Pan a decade ago when Mr. Pan was a vice general manager of ICBC's human-resources department. A voracious reader known to sit in his office on Sundays catching up on academic papers, Mr. Pan approached Mr. Hu about translating some of the Goldman executive's economic writings from English into Chinese.
At the end of the 2004, Mr. Pan was tapped to lead ICBC's restructuring ahead of its IPO. He came to the job with no background in capital markets but proved a quick study. Says one financial professional: 'He has the ability to think independently of the investment banks.'
'He's not the scholar-style manager who writes papers and holds academic seminars,' says He Fan, assistant director of the World Economic and Political Institute of the Chinese Academy of Social Sciences, who had dealings with Mr. Pan over the course of AgBank's IPO. 'He's practical.'
Following the IPO, Mr. Pan became responsible for the bank's strategy and guided the investment in South Africa's Standard Bank. The minority stake remains the largest outward investment made by a Chinese bank.
When AgBank first approached him about moving over to run its IPO, officials initially offered him a position as assistant to the bank's chairman, people familiar with the situation say. He negotiated that into a role on the bank's leadership team as one of the bank's vice presidents.
People familiar with Mr. Pan say that, while he is likely to stay at AgBank for the time being, they expect him to continue to rise through the ranks of China's banking system and one day run one of the big lenders.
鲜有高管能够带领自己的企业成为历史上全球最大的首次公开募股（IPO），但对中国农业银行（Agricultural Bank of China Ltd.）副行长潘功胜来说，这早就不新鲜了。
Bloomberg News农业银行副行长潘功胜潘功胜一直是农业银行IPO的重要人物，帮助指导这家国有银行重组，在管理层、政府所有者、投资银行家、外国投资者及监管机构间进行协调，带动农行上市。该交易已于周二定价，如果执行超额认股权的话，可能将筹资221亿美元，将成为历史上最大的IPO，并将打破中国工商银行（Industrial & Commercial Bank of China Ltd.）2006年创下的纪录，当时潘功胜在指导工行219亿美元的IPO中担任相同的角色。
今年46岁的潘功胜是中国金融业最耀眼的新秀之一。在带头推进中国工商银行和农业银行的IPO之外，他在中国工商银行2008年10月收购按资产计非洲最大银行标准银行（Standard Bank Group Ltd.）的行动中曾起到至关重要的作用。
今年稍早从高盛（Goldman Sachs Group Inc.）大中华区主席职位上去职的胡祖六说，我认为他代表了一个新的群体，他在体制内成长壮大，绝对有资格。他了解市场，具有前瞻性和全球眼光。高盛在工行上市前买入了工行的股份。
1993年，潘功胜获得人民大学经济学博士学位，主攻方向是中国劳动力市场，之后加入工商银行。作为该行帮助有前途的中层管理人员获得海外经验的一部分，从1997年10月开始，潘功胜作为博士后研究人员在剑桥大学Judge商学院学习了一年，之后为ICBC临时工作，期间在英国的渣打集团(Standard Chartered PLC)工作了一年。