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Citigroup bankers nudged into schmoozing jobs are leaving voluntarily

When Citi announced the second phase of its managerial job cuts earlier year, there was some incredulity over the fact that instead of actually letting people go, it seemed simply to be rearranging the deck chairs in much the same way as did in the first round. 

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As the new arrangements settle, however, there are signs that some of those who didn't get the big jobs are wandering away of their own accords. 

Financial News reported today that Linos Lekkas, who was briefly the co-head of the banking, capital markets and advisory unit in Europe (excluding France, Italy and Ireland) with Patrick Frowein, but who was moved into a vice-chairman role in January while Frowein became head of European investment banking, is leaving. 

Lekkas has decided to retire, says Financial News. He joined Citi in 2011 after nearly six years at Bank of America, and told us at the time that he liked hiring people who were fun and that he only got into banking himself after "22 or 23 rejections."

Citi thanked Lekkas for "his years of service to the firm" and wished him well on his retirement. When the bank promoted Lekkas to co-head the European banking, capital markets and advisory unit in September 2023, it declared that it would be "leveraging" he and Frowein's experience to "grow the franchise." Now Frowein will be leveraged on his own.

As we've noted before, although "vice chairman" sounds like a big role in an investment bank, it's not as fancy as it seems. It typically involves limited managerial responsibilities and is about schmoozing clients. In many cases, it's a step towards retirement. 

Citi's decision to make various senior bankers and former co-heads vice chairmen instead of dismissing them and paying severance costs, may therefore be an enlightened one. If Lekkas has left, people like Will Weaver, who was once head of EMEA debt capital markets, but who was also made vice chairman in January, might just wander on too.

Lekkas isnt the only senior Citi banker to decide 2024 is an opportune year to retire. Simon Francis, the former EMEA head of debt financing left in January, and revealed his exit on the day bonuses were announced. 

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Photo by Saad Chaudhry on Unsplash

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AUTHORSarah Butcher Global Editor

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