The People’s Bank of China did not immediately respond to a request for comment.
The looming reshuffle comes as the PBOC seeks to bolster the COVID-19 ravaged economy while avoiding aggressive loosening that could fuel capital flight, as the Federal Reserve and other central banks raise interest rates to fight soaring inflation.
Yin Yong, deputy party chief in the capital Beijing who worked as a deputy central bank governor from 2016 to 2018, is a leading candidate to replace Yi, sources close to the central bank said.
Yin, 53, who holds a doctorate in engineering from Tsinghua University and a master’s degree in public administration from Harvard University, was elected as a full member of the Central Committee during the party congress.
“Yin Yong is likely to replace Yi Gang,” said a source close to the PBOC who spoke on condition of anonymity.
Other sources described Yin as well-positioned to replace Yi, given his status as a rising star and his previous experience at the central bank, the foreign exchange regulator and Beijing government.
Yi has been PBOC governor since 2018 and is one of China’s highest-ranking “sea turtles” – a term for Chinese returning from overseas. He has a doctorate in economics from the University of Illinois.
The PBOC has been overhauling its top management team in recent weeks. Xuan Changneng was named deputy central bank governor on Thursday.
China faces the biggest overhaul of its economic leadership in a decade, with a generation of reform-minded policymakers expected to step down amid worsening growth prospects.