The appointments reflect the increasing focus on these two sectors within Asian investment banking, and the fact that Citi is transferring bankers with experience in the area from Europe as it expands the consumer and healthcare group, shows the importance the bank attaches to its Asian business.
However, some observers say it could also suggest that Citi û like several of its peers û is reducing its investment banking staff in Europe and the US in response to the market downturn and the subprime-related losses incurred by its businesses in those regions. It could be that Citi is looking to find new jobs for these people in Asia where most economists are still expecting healthy economic growth this year.
Alan Choi, who is an associate in the European consumer franchise, has also recently relocated to Hong Kong for a one-year rotation in the Asian consumer and healthcare group. Alan joined Citi as an analyst in 2004.
In a similar move û although not in the same sector û Citi has recently transferred Darin Baur to Hong Kong from Chicago to help with origination and execution within the metals and mining sector. He will report to Alexander Molyneux, who is head of Asia metals and mining. Baur joined Citi in Chicago in 2000 as an associate and has been a director in the Chicago investment banking team since 2006.
Rao, who is a director and has worked within the European consumer group since he joined Citi in 2001, will take up his new position in Hong Kong in early April.
Rao and Choi will both report to Kuh, who will relocate to Hong Kong from London later this month. As reported earlier, Kuh will remain co-head of CitiÆs global retail group together with John Boord in addition to his new role as head of the Asian consumer and healthcare group.
At the time of KuhÆs appointment, a source familiar with the move said Citi sees opportunities within the consumer and healthcare sectors for Asian clients who want to expand both in the region and overseas, as well as for multinational corporations looking to Asia to grow their businesses.