Li Changchun, a protege of former President Jiang Zemin, has been fast-tracked through the party ranks gaining a strong record of reform and achievement.
He was born in 1944 in the north-eastern industrial province of Liaoning, and graduated with a degree in electrical engineering in 1966.
In 1983, aged 39, he became the youngest mayor and Party secretary of a major city, the capital of Liaoning province, Shenyang.
Three years later he became governor of the province.
While he held this post, China's first expressway was built in the province, linking the cities of Shenyang and Dalian and contributing to economic growth in the region.
During the 1990s Mr Li was Party chief in the agricultural province of Henan, which was hit by scandal after thousands of peasants became infected with HIV by seling their blood.
After serving just 14 years as a provincial governor or party chief, Mr Li was promoted to the Politburo in 1997 - again becoming the youngest ever member.