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Citi confirmed that Vis Raghavan will have plenty of power when he arrives in June

The countdown is on at Citigroup. In less than two months' time, Vis Raghavan, whom JPMorgan had only recently promoted as head of its investment bank, is joining Citi as head of all banking. 

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Speaking on Friday, when Citi announced its first quarter results, CEO Jane Fraser said Raghavan will arrive in June and will inject "fresh thinking" into the business. He is, "the right person to take over at this important moment for our banking franchise," she affirmed. As executive vice chair alongside head of the investment bank, Raghavan will report directly to Fraser and join Citi's executive management team. It's not inconceivable that he will one day become Citi CEO himself.  

Initially, though, Raghavan will have a few other things to busy himself with. Citi has just restructured its investment bank, dismantling the old 'institutional clients group' and creating two new divisions of 'banking' (to be led by Raghavan) and 'markets' (led by Andrew Morton). The new banking division includes investment, corporate and commercial banking, all of which will be within Raghavan's purview. He will be tasked with, "increasing performance intensity, driving productivity and disciplined growth," declared Fraser. He will set about, "fundamentally improving the operating margin," and "generating higher returns." 

The implication is that even though Citi has finished the first stage of its restructuring, doing away with five layers of management, geographical divisions and superfluous committees, Raghavan will have plenty of leeway to make changes of his own. The expectation is that he might hire lots of people from JPMorgan, especially from JPMorgan's equity capital markets (ECM) team, where many of his closest former colleagues are said to be located. 

Fraser indicated that Raghavan will have greater leeway to add talent in some areas than others. She said Citi's "priority" is North America, that "tech, healthcare and industrials are likely to constitute over 50% of the fee wallet going forward," that Citi will be more active in the "lev fin" space in the future, and she observed that "financial sponsors are sitting on $3 trillion of estimated firepower, which they are incentivized to deploy."

If JPMorgan wants to avoid losing people to Citi, it may want to focus on retaining people in these areas, as well as in ECM. Meanwhile, Citi's existing people - in ECM especially - may want to watch their backs.

Photo by Daria Volkova on Unsplash

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AUTHORSarah Butcher Global Editor

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