The Chinese Diva Who is a Global Banker

Have you ever wondered about who runs that company that makes that status bag? You know the bag that wears the LV Logo. He is the richest man in Paris. Estimates have it that he is the third richest man in Europe. The masculine elegance that is CEO of LVMH or Louis Vuitton is Bernard Arnault. The woman that he covets as friend and financial guru is the Chinese banker diva Wei Sun Christianson, CEO and Managing Director of Morgan Stanley in Asia. She lives in China’s second largest populace and ancient city of Beijing. She is a deal maker and an earth shaker when it comes to foreign banking and investment strategies. This female banker understands how and what drives the needs of global wealth and perhaps the most complex pattern in the mosaic of her story is the fact of where she was born.
The land of jade and bound feet has been emblematic of China (the world’s most populace country). Centuries old practices has challenged the basic rights of Chinese women. The All-China Women’s Federation was formed to address those basic rights in March 1949. China’s Communist Party (CCP) recognized the existence of the federation. In 1949, laws against the binding of feet were formed, but the struggle for gender parity is still fleeting. It was only through the awakenings of gender equality in the west and Europe that many Chinese women, like Wei Sun Christianson, found ways to make the glass ceiling yield to their touch. Graduating cum laude with a Liberal Arts degree in Political Science at Amherst College (the generator of great women), she was its first student to attend from mainland China. Completing Columbia Law School with honors in International Law her genius was demonstrated in work at major American Law firms that paved her way to becoming the architect of financial constructs that has help to open China’s trade borders. She was Chairman of China for Citigroup Global Markets Ltd, only to take charge earlier as Chairman of China and Country Manager for Suisse First Boston.
Her role as Associate Director of the Corporate Finance Department at the Hong Kong Securities and Finance Commission displayed her extreme talents in financial law. This later served as passageway to becoming instrumental in drafting the regulatory framework for public listings. This is the public trading of securities in Hong Kong. Ms. Christianson is a mastermind of initial public offerings or IPOS. She is one of the first to tailor cross borders financial trading offerings for Sinopec, China Life, and SMIC. She was the architect of the monetization agreement for China National Petroleum Corporation (CNPC), a state own Chinese oil and gas company. Head quartered in Beijing, it is the second largest market capitalized company in the world. The venture was for a $4.2 billion acquisition of Gas Kazakhstan by China National Petroleum Corporation (CNPC). It was the largest cross-border M&A or mergers and acquisitions deal ever undertaken in China at that time. A new sovereign since 1991, Kazakhstan’s biggest export is Petroleum. It produces 10 million to 20 million tonnes per year.
In 2006, Wei Sun Christianson returned to Morgan Stanley to head its Asia exposures and in her words “allows me to leverage our China experience to develop our businesses across the wider region.”. In March 2011, she became Director of Cosmetics at Este Lauder. A habitant of Beijing, China’s second largest populace city next to Shanghai, she is the genetic embodiment of the ancient culture. Nevertheless, the business side of her is only part of the mosaic that completes her life. Wei is married to Jon Christianson, a partner of Skadden, Arps, Slate, Meagher & Flom LLP and Affiliates. They have three boys, Erik, Neil, and Nicholas. Perhaps the only controversial side of her private life is the ownership of 8,500 square foot home in Idaho’s Sawtooth Valley, just north of the Sawtooth Valley Ranger’s Station.
Imagine having the ability to influence geo-finance through global businesses. Very few males covet those responsibilities. Brains coupled with cunning beauty portrays Wei Sun Christianson as the Chinese diva who happens to be a global banker.