LONDON Feb 13 Citigroup Inc has begun
axing 50 investment bankers across its Europe, Middle East and
Africa (EMEA) division as a programme of cutting 11,000 jobs
hits the heart of the investment bank.
Citi announced the global cuts, equal to about 4 percent of
the bank's workforce, in December as part of an effort to
eliminate $1.1 billion in annual costs by 2014.
Back office areas like support and technology were singled
out as those to be hardest hit, along with consumer banking in
markets like Pakistan, Paraguay, Brazil and Hong Kong where Citi
is scaling back its presence.
Three sources told Reuters that Citi has this week began
laying off investment bankers in the division, with 50 positions
to be eliminated imminently.
Of these, between 15-18 are at the managing director level,
a source with knowledge of the plan told Reuters on Wednesday.
"The cuts began Monday and are currently going on across the
region," said a separate source familiar with the matter.
"Most of the cuts are in Europe and there is an intense
pressure to cut costs there. Senior bankers being asked to leave
Citi declined to comment on the size, timing or regions of
the cuts, which followed swiftly after a 4,500-strong job
cutting programme in 2012.
"Last year's cuts were not harsh on the investment bank but
this one is going straight to the division," said the source.
"This puts a lot of pressure on the existing bankers to
boost revenues and profitability. Some bankers are voluntarily
taking the exit package."
The cost cuts come as Citi pares back its mammoth global
business to a more profitable core.
"We have identified areas and products where our scale does
not provide for meaningful returns," Chief Executive Michael
Corbat said in December, as he outlined the plan.
Corbat, a 30 year Citi veteran, had only been in the top job
two months when the plan was announced.
His chairman, Michael O'Neill, famed for his cost cutting,
is credited with being a key driving force behind the
reorganisation, which earned the bank $1.03 billion worth or
charges in the final quarter of 2012.
After the charge, Citi reported pretax earnings of $1.13
billion, marginally ahead of its $1.09 billion result in the
comparable quarter in 2011, which also included "repositioning"