Chinese authorities have named new chairmen at China National Petroleum Corporation (CNPC) and Sinopec — the country's largest oil and gas companies — as part of a drive to shift roles of senior management at state-owned enterprises.

The government has named Dai Houliang as chairman of CNPC. Previously he was the chairman of Sinopec. Dai replaces Wang Yilin, who has reached retirement age.

Dai is a refining specialist, having started work with Sinopec in 1985 as a technician at Sinopec Yangzi Petrochemical in Nanjing.

In 2002 he was named president of Yangzi. In 2005, he was appointed as Sinopec’s petrochemical business vice president.

Born in 1964 in eastern China’s Jiangsu province, Dai was educated at the Jiangsu Petrochemical Institute, majoring in organic chemistry before taking a master's degree in business administration in 1997, sponsored by Nanjing University.

The government has also promoted Zhang Yuzhuo to chairman of Sinopec.

Before promotion, Zhang, a coal specialist, served as chairman of coal producer Shenhua Group, and was party secretary of Binhai New District of Tianjin Municipal Government and director of the management committee of Tianjn Free Trade Zone.

Zhang holds a master’s degree in coal mining from the China Coal Research Institute and a PhD in engineering from the University of Science & Technology in Beijing.

The government has also named Li Fanrong as president of CNPC to fill a vacancy left by Zhang Wei, who quit CNPC to join the National Pipeline Grid Company as its president late last year.

Born in 1963, in Jiangxi province, Li graduated in science with a major in oil production from Jianghan Petroleum Institute in China in 1984.

He later received his master’s degree in business administration from the Business School of Cardiff University in the UK in 2003, and became CNOOC Ltd chief executive in 2011.