Citigroup Hires BofA's Fleming as Co-Head of Europe Equity Capital Markets

(Bloomberg) -- Citigroup Inc. hired James Fleming from Bank of America Corp. to become co-head of its equity capital markets business in Europe, the Middle East and Africa.

The appointment of Fleming, who had the same title at Bank of America, is effective immediately, according to an internal memo obtained by Bloomberg. Citigroup also promoted Valery Barrier to become co-head of EMEA equity capital markets, after three years of leading the firm’s ECM franchise in France, Switzerland and Benelux, the memo shows.

Ken Robins, who has been running the EMEA ECM business for five years, becomes chairman of EMEA equity capital markets, the memo shows. He will dedicate his time to the bank’s most senior client relationships, as well as assist in leading strategic capital formation across international emerging markets. A spokeswoman for Citigroup confirmed the contents of the memo.

Sam Losada, who was Fleming’s co-head at Bank of America, will assume sole responsibility for the ECM business in EMEA, according to people familiar with the matter, who asked not to be identified because the details are private.

Steinhoff Collapse

Fleming’s departure comes as Bank of America is becoming increasingly cautious on risk after reporting hundreds of millions of dollars in losses linked to the collapse of South African retailer Steinhoff International Holdings NV following accounting irregularities. Fleming worked on deals for the retailer including a capital increase in 2016 and a margin loan to former chairman Christo Wiese linked to its stock, the people said.

A spokeswoman for Bank of America declined to comment. Fleming didn’t immediately respond to calls or a text seeking comment.

Bank of America ranked seventh in advising on equity, equity linked and rights offerings in EMEA this year, the same as 2017, data compiled by Bloomberg show. Still, the lender had a role on some of the biggest transactions of 2018, including Bayer AG’s stock sales to raise capital for its acquisition of Monsanto Co. and a $9 billion so-called collar trade for Chinese billionaire Li Shufu’s Geely Group to finance its purchase of a stake in Daimler AG.

Citigroup ranked third among arrangers of EMEA stock offerings this year on the same basis, compared with second last year, the data show. The U.S. bank advised on deals including the U.K. government’s sale of a 2.5 billion-pound ($3.3 billion) stake in Royal Bank of Scotland Group Plc and the initial public offering of African retailer Vivo Energy Plc.

Qatari Sheikh

Fleming joined Bank of America in 2011 from UBS Group AG in Hong Kong and moved to the U.K. in 2014 to head ECM in the country for two years before taking on a broader regional role in 2016. Losada joined Bank of America from Nomura Holdings Inc. in 2010 as head of EMEA strategic equity solutions.

Bank of America, which reported about $300 million in losses linked to Steinhoff, conducted an internal probe into the matter and began to shy away from deals it had financed in recent years, people familiar with the matter have said previously. The internal investigation stoked anxieties among managers in many businesses, making them more averse to taking risks for fear that missteps could subject them to similar scrutiny, the people said. The loss also elevated the clout of risk managers within the firm.

Citigroup, which led the list of U.S. lenders hit by Steinhoff with about $370 million in charge-offs and losses, hasn’t seen a change in deal appetite, a top executive said this month. The U.S. bank stepped in as a financier for a key Deutsche Bank AG investor, former Qatari Prime Minister Sheikh Hamad bin Jassim Al Thani, after Bank of America dropped out, people with knowledge of the matter said this month.

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