Charles Xiaojia Li, former chairman of JP Morgan, was appointed on Wednesday as Chief Executive of Hong Kong Exchanges and Clearing, making the first head of the bourse with a mainland background.

As the successor to Paul Man-yiu Chow, Li is expected to join HKEx on October 16 of this year, and assume the position as the Chief Executive of HKEx upon Chow's retirement next January. The appointment is seen as a strategic move as the operator seeks closer ties to the mainland.

It is necessary to select a chief executive with mainland background for the HKEx, as the market value of mainland companies listed on the HKEx is already over 40 percent of the bourse's total market value, said Yichen Zhang, chief executive officer, CITIC Capital.

As Li has an excellent command over securities law, good relations with mainland regulators and capital market experience in mainland and Hong Kong, he is the ideal choice for the post, said Zhang.

It's a great opportunity for me to work as the CEO of HKEx. Li told CBN in an interview. I will take advantage of my experience to develop the Hong Kong financial market in a competitive and challenging environment.

I will work together with Chow for a smooth transition from this October to next January.” he added, since both Shanghai and Hong Kong are seen as financial centers, they will work more together to promote mutual development in the future.

Li assumed his post in JPMorgan Chase in 2003. He contributed to developing the business and establishing the its industry status during his six-year service as Chairman of J.P. Morgan in China, according to Gaby Abdelnour, head of J.P. Morgan's Asia operations.

Li, 48, had worked earlier as a China Daily reporter in the 1980s. In 1986, he studied in the US and received a master's degree in news reporting and a doctorate in law. Subsequently he joined Merrill Lynch and became its China president in 1999 before his work at JPMorgan Chase in 2003.