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Citi CEO lauds Indian-origin banking chief's "intensity"

Fraser has expressed high hopes for Raghavan, who climbed JPMorgan's ranks quickly

Citi CEO Jane Fraser with Head of Banking Vis Raghavan at Citi headquarters / LinkedIn/ Jane Fraser

NEW YORK (Reuters) -Viswas Raghavan joined Citigroup as its new head of banking this week in New York, the lender said on June 4, after it hired the former head of investment banking from JPMorgan earlier this year.

Citi's CEO Jane Fraser has expressed high hopes for Raghavan, who climbed JPMorgan's ranks from capital markets, as she seeks to turn around the bank and revitalize its division catering to multinational corporations.

In a Linkedin post on June 4, Fraser welcomed the new executive and shared a photo with him at Citi's headquarters. "His decision to join Citi reflects our ability to attract the best talent," she wrote.

The CEO told shareholders in April she was delighted to welcome Raghavan and added, "we look forward to the added intensity he will no doubt bring."

Raghavan was described by two sources who worked with him as a demanding manager, with one noting his confident style. They declined to be identified discussing personnel matters. Citi declined to comment.

Raghavan previously served as JPMorgan's CEO in the Europe, Middle East and Africa (EMEA) region, while also leading its investment and corporate banking and treasury services in the region. After joining JPMorgan in 2000, he held senior roles in debt and equity capital markets.

The executive grew up in India and has bachelors degrees in physics from the University of Bombay and electronic engineering and computer science from Aston University. He is also a chartered accountant.

Citi's investment banking revenue in the first quarter was $903 million, half of the $2 billion JPMorgan reaped in the same period.

The banking unit at Citi "can use a revamp," Wells Fargo analyst Mike Mayo wrote in a note in February when Raghavan's hire was announced. The executive "could be attracted to Citi given its large global footprint," taking sole responsibility over a business line, and facing easier performance comparisons relative to the company's history, Mayo wrote. The stock is his top pick.

Citigroup has been the fifth or sixth largest global bank in investment banking revenue over the last five years, according to Dealogic rankings. Its share in global revenue has been 4.8 percent  this year so far, up from 4.1 percent  in 2023. The other large U.S. rivals have investment banking market share above 6 percent.

Investors have rewarded Fraser with a 19 percent  share price boost this year as she carried out a sweeping overhaul. The gains outpaced a 13 percent increase for an S&P 500 index of bank stocks in 2024.

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