The reactivity of a tricoordinate organoboron L2PhB: (L = oxazol-2-ylidene) 1 towards metal precursors and its coordination chemistry were comprehensively studied. While the boron center in 1 is reluctant to coordinate to the alkali metals in their trifluoromethanesulfonate salts (MOTf) (M = Li, Na, K), the unprecedented compound 2 containing two L2PhB: units linked by a cyclic Li(OTf)2Li spacer was obtained from the reaction of 1 with LiOTf. Treatment of 1 with group 9 metal complexes [MCl(COD)]2 (M = Rh, Ir) afforded the first zwitterionic rhodium(i)-boronium complex 3 and the iridium(iii)-borane complex 4, respectively. The reaction pathway may involve C-H activation followed by proton migration from the metals to the boron center, demonstrating the first example of the deprotonation of metal hydrides by a basic boron. In the reactions with coinage metals, 1 could act as a two-electron reducing agent towards the metal chlorides MCl (M = Cu, Ag, Au). Meanwhile, the reaction of 1 with gold chloride supported by a N-heterocyclic carbene (NHC) produced a heteroleptic cationic gold complex [(L2PhB)Au(NHC)]Cl (6) featuring both carbene and L2PhB: ligands on the gold atom. In contrast, an isolable gold chloride complex (L2PhB)AuCl (8) was obtained by direct complexation between 1 and triphenylphosphine-gold chloride via ligand exchange. X-ray diffraction analysis and computational studies revealed the nature of the B:→Au bonding interaction in complexes 6 and 8. Natural Population Analysis (NPA) and Natural Bond Orbital (NBO) analysis support the strong σ-donating property of the L2PhB: ligand. Moreover, preliminary studies showed that complex 8 can serve as an efficient precatalyst for the addition of X-H (X = N, O, C) to alkynes under ambient conditions, demonstrating the first application of a metal complex featuring a neutral boron-based ligand in catalysis. © The Royal Society of Chemistry 2015.