The fact that Zhou Xiaochuan, the incumbent governor of the People's Bank of China (PBoC), was notably absent from the Central Committee means he was expected to depart his post soon after he turned 65 in January 2013, the mandatory retirement age for a Chinese cabinet minister. The job of leading the monetary authority of the world's second-largest economy seemed up for grabs, with an announcement expected before March. There are five chiefs from key finance agencies who have made it onto the Central Committee. These are Shang Fulin, chairman of the China Banking Regulatory Commission; Guo Shuqing, chairman of the CSRC; Xiang Junbo, chairman of the China Insurance Regulatory Commission; Lou Jiwei, chairman and CEO of China Investment Corp; and Xiao Gang, president of the Bank of China. Whoever succeeds Zhou would face a tough task: drafting and fine-tuning monetary policy in a slowing economy that faces great external uncertainties in the US and Europe. For the PBoC, these are uncharted waters.