Saturday, 19 September 2009

Departing VTB finance chief takes Barclays role

Wall Street Journal Europe

September 9, 2009

Jason Corcoran in Moscow

The chief financial officer of Russian state lender VTB, who left the bank today, is to become head of Barclays' global retail and commercial banking business in Russia in move the bank says is vital for it to "diversify internationally".

Nikolai Tsekhomsky, whose appointment is subject to approval from the Central Bank of Russia, will take over from Sergey Radchenkov at the helm of Expobank, Barclays’ retail and commercial business in Russia.

Tsekhomsky joined VTB with a specific remit to spearhead it the bank’s $8bn (€5.5bn) initial public offering on the London Stock Exchange in May 2007, which is the second-largest listing by a Russia company. Domestic press and investors have criticised the bank followed the IPO as its share price has plummeted by 70%.

He has previously been chief financial officer for Renaissance Capital and financial controller for Brunswick, a Moscow brokerage subsequently sold to Switzerland’s UBS.

Tsekhomsky has been replaced as chief financial officer at VTB by Herbert Moos, who had been executive of VTB Bank Europe, an investment arm of VTB. A spokeswoman for VTB said no decision had been taken yet about a replacement for Moos. “Herbert will stay with us to help with a transition until we announce someone for the role,” she said.

Barclays reacquired Russian lender Expobank in March last year for $745m. The bank, which employs 1,800 staff in Russia, has since re-branded and revamped Expobank’s 36 branches in the west of the country Russia.

Analysts said last year that the $745m price tag, at four times Expobank's net asset value, was hefty but that the acquisition was relatively small and gave Barclays a place in a fast growing market.

In a statement issued to Financial News, the chairman of the board of directors of Barclays in Russia Hans-Joerg Rudloff, said: “This is an important step in the strategic development of Barclays in Russia and integral to Barclays ambitions to diversify internationally. We are optimistic about the growth opportunities in Russia and remain committed to the market in the future," he added.

Rudloff told Financial News in April the bank was launching a fresh campaign in Russia and would be building out further in investment and commercial banking, as well as retail.

Barclays' investment banking subsidiary Barclays Capital has steadily been growing its Moscow operation over the past year having hired extensively for back and middle office functions and yesterday announced the hire of Rothschild’s global co-head of financial institutions, Stefano Marsaglia, as chairman of its worldwide financial institutions group.

A senior hire to head up the investment banking team in Russia is expected with a number of senior Russian bankers in the frame.

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