BEIJING (AP) _ The Bank of China appointed a new president and chairman Wednesday in apparent preparation for major economic reforms next year.

Wang Deyan, 63, who formerly held both posts, is retiring after a tenure of 8 1/2 years, the official Xinhua News Agency said.

The new president is Wang Xuebing, 41, most recently vice general manager of the China Everbright Group Co. Ltd., who worked 17 years in the Bank of China, including five years as director of its New York branch.

The new chairman is Wang Qiren, 52, former deputy director of the government's Hong Kong and Macao Affairs Office, who worked in the People's Bank of China for 20 years.

Hong Kong newspapers that reported the impending shakeup last week said the bank wanted to put younger professionals into the top posts before embarking on major structural reforms in 1994.

Officials have said the Bank of China, the main Chinese bank handling foreign currency transactions, will be transformed into a commercial bank after years of operating as a government cash drawer.

The Bank of China's assets total 1.4 trillion yuan ($241 billion), and its capital funds total more than 30 billion yuan ($5.18 billion), Xinhua said.

It said the bank's Chinese currency deposits increased by 34.2 billion yuan ($5.9 billion) to 189.8 billion yuan ($32.8 billion) in the first 10 months of 1993, a 22 percent jump.

Foreign currency deposits rose 12 percent to $26.7 billion.