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February 3, 2014 6:29 pm
Citigroup has turned to one of its most experienced London bankers as its UK head in an effort to catch up with rivals in the business of advising on deals and IPOs.
James Bardrick is to leave his post as co-head of corporate and investment banking for Europe, Middle East and Africa to take up the role as UK country officer, according to an internal memo.
The Citi veteran, who joined the lender 27 years ago, is expected go on the offensive in the bank’s UK business.
The US bank trails many of its peers in the UK, ranking eighth last year and a distant 14th this year to date in the advisory fee league tables, according to Thomson Reuters.
This contrasts with a significant improvement in the European league tables, where it shot up from 10th to fifth last year after bringing in several senior dealmakers.
Heavily scarred by the financial crisis under chief executive Michael Corbat, Citi has taken a firm look at its international markets and tried to group its global operations into areas to invest, maintain or scale back.
Mr Corbat has said the UK fits into its “optimise then grow” category, which overall accounts for over half the bank’s revenue but a bigger proportion of expenses. A new UK head could be expected to focus on improving efficiency ratios at the division and boosting return on assets.
Citi’s previous UK head, Maurice Thompson, resigned to pursue interests outside banking.
Mr Thompson attracted publicity last year when he abseiled down 17 storeys of the Royal London Hospital in London’s Whitechapel for charity.
Mr Bardrick’s role will also include crucial relationships with UK regulators and the government at a time of great scrutiny for investment banks.
He will also continue to focus on selected clients in an additional post as vice-chairman for the corporate and investment bank.
“As CCO, James will serve the critical role of protecting and leading the Citi franchise in the UK,” the memo reads.
The move will leave Manolo Falco as sole head of Citi’s European corporate and investment banking unit, four and a half years after becoming co-head together with Mr Bardrick.
The appointment of a single European head underlines how Citi’s corporate and investment bank units have moved closer together in recent years.
In the past, Mr Bardrick was more focused on the corporate bank while Mr Falco managed the investment banking side.
Additional reporting by Camilla Hall in New York
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