After the 17th National Congress of the Communist Party of China (CPC), a number of bosses of state-owned enterprises (SOE) were appointed as provincial governors or province-level Party chiefs. Promoted from company heads to senior governmental officials, these ambitious, highly capable leaders of the younger generation are providing fresh perspectives and setting the country on a new and highly promising path.
These managers turned statesmen are relatively young. Many of them are in their 40s. They are well educated, many holding master degrees or PhDs, and are energetic and full of ideas.
First and foremost they are successful entrepreneurs. As company managers, they are used to having to make the right decisions at the right time, always on the lookout for ways to sharpening their businesses' competitive edge. They have strategic vision and a comprehensive, accurate picture of political and economic trends at home and abroad.
Forty-seven-year-old Zhu Yanfeng, now vice governor of northeast China's Liaoning Province, is an excellent example. In 1999, Zhu was appointed president of the China First Automobile Works (FAW), one of China's oldest automobile companies. At just 39 Zhu was one of China's youngest SOE managers. Over the following 9 years, Zhu helped transform FAW from a backward company into a highly competitive group through assorted acquisitions, mergers and restructuring. In 2007 FAW landed a profit of 12.3 billion yuan, an enormous increase from the 1999 figure of 150 million yuan. In the same year, Zhu was promoted vice governor of Liaoning, just five years after becoming an alternative member of the CPC Central Committee. Zhu exemplifies the breadth of vision required not only for a company head, but also for a senior government figure.
These managers turned senior officials are also ambitious and bold. Making the right decision is one thing, but putting it into practice is another. The latter requires courage and charisma as well as reasoning power and the new breed of manager-officials have both.