Hosted by California-Asia Business Council (Cal-Asia)
Friday, November 21, 2008 -- Ritz Carlton Hotel, San Francisco

Ambassador Linda Tsao Yang is being honored for her extraordinary contributions to US-Asia business, finance and development. As U.S. Executive Director of the Asian Development Bank, through private and public service to such institutions as RAND Corporation, Lombard Investments, the California Savings and Loan Commission, and CalPERS, she has contributed to stronger business ties with Asia. Among these contributions, she catalyzed CalPERS' first investment in a private equity fund in emerging Asia. Her legacy continues to grow today through her participation on the Board of Directors of the Bank of China (Hong Kong), and as Chairman of the Asian Corporate Governance Association of Hong Kong, where she works tirelessly to bring increased transparency and predictability to Asian companies, making them better business partners for California and other US companies.  And, in addition to her many other activities, we are grateful that she honors Cal-Asia by serving as the Senior Advisor to our Board of Directors.

Ambassador Yang is a graduate of St. John's University, Shanghai and earned her Master of Philosophy degree in economics from Columbia University, New York.

She chairs the Asian Corporate Governance Association based in Hong Kong, a nonprofit organization dedicated to improving corporate governance practices in Asia.  She is a non-executive director of the board of The Bank of China (Hong Kong).

From 1993 to 1999 Ambassador Yang was US Ambassador and executive director on the Board of Directors of the Asian Development Bank in Manila.  She was the first woman director appointed by the US government to the board of a multilateral financial institutions and the first executive director appointed by President Clinton and confirmed by the U.S. Senate.

When Ambassador Yang arrived in Manila September 1993 to serve as US executive director to the Asian Development Bank, she brought 11 proposals with her.  It was humorously rumored that she would not retire until all 11 proposals were carried out.  The joke evaporated when in fact Yang saw them all to fruition.

One of her proudest achievements in that role was the rehabilitation and clean up of the Suzhou Creek, for which she helped to generate a $300 million loan. 

At her retirement at the end of 1999, US Secretary of the Treasury Lawrence H. Summers presented Ambassador Yang with the Distinguished Service Award for her role in "defining the Bank's participation in the international response to the Asian economic crisis."

Ambassador Yang was the first woman and the first minority person appointed to serve as California's Savings and Loan Commissioner.  She held this position between April 1980 to December 1982, a period of national recession and great turmoil in the state's financial sector.

She is also a former vice president of the board of the California Public Employees' Retirement System and vice chairman of its investment committee.  She was a senior adviser to Lombard Investments, a private equity fund focused on Asia, and a director of the Pacific Pension Institute which she now serves as a member of its advisory board.  In August 2007 the Pacific Pension Institute presented its inaugural leadership award. This honor recognized her significant professional contributions and her role as a bridge between PPI's work in North America and its interests in Asia.

She continues to serve as a trustee of The Asia Foundation.  She sits on the boards of The Committee of 100, a nationwide Chinese-American organization was formed to address issues concerning Chinese-American community, the Center on Asia-Pacific Policy and the RAND Corp. She is a member of the Council on Foreign Relations.   She also serves as Senior Advisor to Cal-Asia.

Besides her accomplishments in finance and development, Ambassador Yang has helped improve equal opportunity for women in the workplace. She herself continues to be a model for women and girls the world over.