Joanne K. Wood is the Founder and Executive Chairman of Capital Eight, an investment banking boutique specialized in corporate finance and headquartered in Shanghai. She is also one of the longest-serving foreign expats based in China, having lived and worked here for over 30 years.
Wood arrived in Beijing at the end of 1981 under a joint China-Australia Government student exchange scheme to study Mandarin with a view to becoming a simultaneous translator in Chinese-English at the United Nations. Her career plans changed when the Chinese Government cancelled the scheme and Wood found work that allowed her to remain in China to continue her studies. In 1983, she was recruited by Chemical Bank (now Chase Manhattan Bank) to help open their rep office, kickstarting an alternative career in financial services.
To hone her investment banking skills, she returned to full-time study in 1989, graduating from London Business School with an MBA. UBS then followed, with postings in New York, Zurich, London and finally back in Hong Kong where she was part of the team that opened Mainland China operations. In her 35+ years of banking, 25 years have focused on a wide range of China-oriented M&A, Debt & Equity Capital Markets and infrastructure finance. At Jardine Fleming (now JPMorgan), she was a member of the first dedicated team of M&A professionals based in Asia and was internationally ranked as a leading Asian-emerging markets financial advisor. Listing many Fortune 500, FTSE 100 and Sino 400 entities amongst her clients, Joanne continues to advise companies on China domestic and cross-border investment strategies, capital structuring, fund-raising plans and transaction negotiations wearing the Capital Eight cap.
Wood’s entrepreneurial instincts kicked-in early on with 2 attempts at start-ups: the first one played to her social consciousness – she established one of the world’s first companies that created and produced novelty condoms; the second idea played to her sense of exploration – she started the first foreign-owned adventure travel company in China. Whilst both companies almost succeeded, the learnings ensured the success of Capital Eight.
Wood has been active in representing the Foreign Financial Services Industry in China, engaging in peer dialogue with the Chinese Government. She is currently Chair of the British Chamber of Commerce Financial Services Focus Group and a non-executive Advisory Board Chairman and Director of two digital-tech start-ups. Joanne has also worked with the UK Government to promote the adoption of PPP infrastructure financing in China and is a former Vice Chair of the EUCCC’s Investment Working Group.
Wood is a regular speaker at international conferences and often asked for her views on China’s financial services industry and the China investment environment. Amongst other engagements, she has participated in the BBC’s globally televised debating series “Intelligence Squared”.
Although an 8th generation Australian, Wood is multi-cultural by nature, having spent her childhood growing up in Singapore and receiving a British education before returning to her home city of Adelaide, South Australia to undertake her undergraduate degree (B.Arts) at the University of Adelaide. Wood is also an adventurer, organizing regular expeditions to remote regions in Siberia, Central Asia and the Tibetan Plateau. She is passionate about her work and life as an entrepreneur, and enthusiastic when sharing her experiences. Wood continues to mentor and support new entrepreneurs in Shanghai through various initiatives such as Mentor Walks and joint Sino-UK and Sino-Australian start-ups programs.
Wood reads and writes Mandarin.
Her favorite quote is: “Don’t cry because it’s over. Smile because it happened.” -Dr. Seuss