Citi's Korea chief retires after 33 years at bank

YK Ha, chief country officer since 2004, will be replaced by Jin-Hei Park, markets and banking head, effective immediately.

YK Ha, Citi’s chief country officer for Korea, has retired after 33 years at the group, according to an internal memo seen by FinanceAsia.

He will be replaced by Jin-Hei Park, markets and banking head, effective immediately. Jin-Hei will report to Stephen Bird, Citi Asia chief executive.

YK joined Citi in Seoul in 1981 and has held various senior management roles including country business manager, corporate banking group head and country treasurer.

He became chairman and chief executive for Korea in 2004 following the acquisition of KorAm Bank, which created the largest foreign bank in the country — a deal he led.

“YK has been instrumental in building our Korea business, which today is one of eight markets in Asia-Pacific that generates over US$1 billion in revenues,” Stephen Bird, Citi Asia CEO, said in the memo.

YK played a leading in role in the deepening of relationships with South Korea's corporate champions such as Samsung, Kia and Hyundai, who now bank globally with Citi.

Citi was the first foreign bank to enter South Korea, in 1967, and its acquisition of KorAm bank remains Citi’s largest investment in Asia. The branch network is Citi’s third-largest globally.

South Korea, however, has generally been a difficult market for foreign investment and consumer banks.

Citi has been consistently strong in the G3 debt capital markets and also advising on mergers and acquisitions but less so in terms of equity capital market transactions.

In 2004 Citi was ranked first in the country for M&A with $4.4 billion worth of deals and a market share of 22.4%, data from Dealogic shows. Citi is also ranked No. 1 so far this year with $12.7 billion worth of deals and a market share of 16.9%.

Citi was ranked tenth in 2004 for ECM with a 3% market share but for the year-to -date period it is second with a 13% market share. For G3 DCM, Citi ranks 2nd in 2014 YTD with a 10.7% market share and, for 2013, ranked 3rd with a 10.3% market share.

For total DCM transactions, however, the bank was in sixth place in 2004 with a 5% market share and is currently tenth for 2014 with a 2.7% share.

Meanwhile, in October Citi announced it would withdraw from the consumer finance business in South Korea as part of a broader retrenchment from high-cost businesses.


Jin-Hei joined Citi in Seoul in 1984 and was most recently head of markets and banking for Citi in Korea, overseeing corporate and commercial banking.

He was chief operating officer for Citi Korea from 2004 to 2007 and, prior to this, executive vice-president, chief financial officer and treasurer of KorAm Bank.

Jin-Hei holds a MSc in economics from the London School of Economics, a MBA from the University of Chicago and a BA in international economics from Seoul National University.

As CCO, he will be responsible for building and maintaining relationships with clients, public sector business, regulators and the government.

“Jin-Hei brings a wealth of experience to this role and has proven credentials as a business leader, which include success at growing the franchise in this critically important market,” Bird said in the statement.

According to the statement, a replacement for Jin-Hei as markets and banking head will be named "in due course.”

YK and Jin-Hei could not be reached for comment.

¬ Haymarket Media Limited. All rights reserved.
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