Citi rushes to replace Corbat in EMEA top job

Wed Oct 17, 2012 8:46am EDT
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By Sarah White and Sophie Sassard

LONDON (Reuters) - Citigroup's (C.N: Quote) new boss Mike Corbat is rushing to plug the gap he left at the helm of the U.S. bank's European business, a major hub for investment banking income but which still lags other regions by revenue.

The U.S. bank has been pushing to recover market share in Europe, the Middle East and Africa under Corbat's tenure as chief executive for the region in the past year. Corbat was propelled to the top job at Citi on Tuesday after Vikram Pandit suddenly quit.

Citi could outline its plan for the European leadership as early as Wednesday or Thursday, two Citi insiders said.

It is unclear, however, whether the bank will opt for an interim boss to give Corbat time to map out broader management changes, or make an immediate appointment.

One of the strongest contenders is Jim Cowles, the former head of markets in the region promoted under Corbat to chief operating officer for EMEA in February.

Cowles, who is also in charge of Western Europe, would be one of the natural successors to Corbat, three people familiar with the matter said - unless he follows Corbat to another role.

John Havens, Citi's global chief operating officer, also resigned on Tuesday.

Corbat, who had previously run Citi Holdings, the unit housing businesses and assets the bank wants to shed, had taken a hands-on approach in his EMEA job - a manager role that involves liaising with regulators rather than directly talking to clients.   Continued...

Newly named Citigroup Inc Chief Executive Michael Corbat, previously chief executive for Citigroup Inc Europe, Middle East and Africa, is shown in this undated handout image released on October 16, 2012. A statement from Chairman Michael O'Neill said Michael Corbat would succeed Vikram Pandit as CEO and as a board member. Pandit's sudden resignation is the culmination of months of disagreement with the board, in particular O'Neill, over strategy. REUTERS/Citigroup Inc/Handout