Citigroup reshuffles its deck in Moscow as key bankers quit

By Jason Corcoran in Moscow February 17, 2016

US lender Citigroup is shaking up its leadership in Moscow after the departure of three key bankers in the past few weeks.

The bank is reshuffling its deck following the exit of investment banking head Dmitry Ankundinov, head of securities and fund services Alexei Fedotov and head of communications Denis Denisov, sources close to Citigroup told bne IntelliNews.

Irackly Mtibelishvily, head of the corporate and investment bank for Russia, was also promoted in December to lead Central & Eastern Europe, Middle East and Africa business.

Irina Kiparoidze, a spokeswoman for Citigroup in Moscow, declined to immediately comment on the personnel changes.

Ankundinov left to join Sberbank while Fedotov has left for an unspecified role. Denisov, a director and a veteran of Citigroup for 13 years, joins emerging markets PR agency EM as a director in Moscow. It is believed Mtibelishvily will assume Ankundinov's duties.

Larisa Gorbacheva, head of direct custody and clearing, may replace Fedotov, who had run the $20bn assets under management business for over 11 months, a source at the bank told bne IntelliNews.   

Citigroup, which returned to Russia in 1992 after a 72-year hiatus, is one of a few foreign banks that prospered in consumer banking after the collapse of the Soviet Union. It ranks among the top five foreign retail banks, claiming to have more than 1mn clients and 4,000 employees in 12 cities.

The bank is now believed to be scaling back its exposure to Russia as a plunge in commodities and US and EU sanctions over Russia's involvement in the Ukrainian conflict have pushed the economy into recession.

Citigroup has historically focused on Russia's middle class with its Citigold wealth-management product, which targets customers with a monthly income of at least $10,000. It also serves many US, Chinese and Korean multinationals who are present in Russia.

HSBC, Barclays  and Banco Santander are among international lenders that abandoned consumer banking in Russia over the past three years due to the dominance of Sberbank and VTB Group, the two largest Russian lenders.

Fees earned by Citigroup from mergers, listings and bond sales collapsed by 97% last year to just $1mn from $7mn in 2014, according to data by US consultancy Freeman & Co. 

On February 17, bne IntelliNews exclusively reported on the closure of the first US bank in Moscow since the current crisis over Russia's involvement in the Ukraine conflict erupted almost two years ago. Jefferies Group closed its offices barely two and a half years after opening for business in the capital. Barclays, Deutsche Bank and Royal Bank of Scotland have also closed their investment banks in Moscow over the past five months.

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