There’s been a big development at Citi, with the US bank appointing Peter Babej, the firm’s global head of financial institutions group, as its new chief executive officer (CEO) for Asia-Pacific.
The move was initially revealed via an internal memo, which has been seen by multiple news outlets. As the CEO of the APAC region, Babej will be based in Hong Kong, according to the memo.
“Under Peter’s leadership, the [Financial Institutions Group] has participated in some of the most significant transactions in the sector, including several Asia-driven mergers and acquisitions,” Citi CEO Michael Corbat reportedly said in the memo.
“He will draw on his deep knowledge of the financial services landscape in Asia, where we continue to see great opportunities, including fast-growing digital adoption, for which Citi is well-positioned given our footprint and capabilities.”
APAC importance is growing for Citi
The Asia-Pacific region is becoming an increasingly important area for Citi, as the company is planning to grow its presence in mainland China. Leading this venture now is Babej, who has been with the bank since 2010.
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In fact, the Asia-Pacific region is its biggest overseas market outside of the United States. Not only that, but it is “one of Citi’s strongest performing businesses, representing about a fifth of revenues and about a third of net income,” according to a spokesman speaking to the Financial Times.
In addition, Citi’s goal is to be the first foreign bank to launch a securities business in mainland China without a local partner. This move will be possible from 2020 when China will relax foreign-ownership rules in China.
Peter Babej’s career history
Initially, when Babej joined the US bank nine years ago, he was the co-head of its financial institutions group. For the past two years, he has been the sole head of the group, based in New York. In this position, he was involved in some large transactions in Asia, including last year’s financing round for Ant Financial, according to the news outlet.
Prior to his tenure with Citi, Babej has held senior banking positions at both Deutsche Bank and Lazard. His appointment to APAC CEO comes just six months after Francisco Aristeguieta stepped down from the position when he left Citigroup to take on the role of head of State Street Corporation’s international business.
Over the past six months, Tim Monger has been acting as the interim chief executive for the region. According to the memo, he will return to his role as the chief financial officer for the region.