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Citi MDs are leaving, voluntarily or otherwise, amidst Jane Fraser's japes

With Easter over, today was April Fool's day. If you're at Citi, this seems to mean that you'd better watch out for the pranks played by chief executive, Jane Fraser. 

The Wall Street Journal reports that Fraser has a long history of entering wholeheartedly into the spirit of April 1st, and that she has in the past pranked her senior team with an April Fool's request that they sign a waiver to go skydiving. Outside of April 1st, she's reportedly known for changing her Zoom background to embarrassing photos of people on their birthdays, for sending fake kidnap messages concerning teddy bears she's previously gifted colleagues ("Ease up on the cost cuts or the bear is done for") and for pretending to schedule big meetings when senior executives want to watch critical sports games. She's also suspected of stealing a fellow executive's prized chair and then Photoshopping it into foreign cities to suggest it's on a world tour. Fraser herself doesn't seem to have commented for the WSJ story, but "current and former" Citi execs confirmed her temperament. 

The message is clear: Fraser may be cutting 20,000 jobs at Citi, and she may be unpopular as a result, but she's also human, she's warm and funny. As Citi cuts costs, Fraser's humor is presumably lightening the atmosphere a little. 

Such jollity may be needed. Sources say that Citi cut various senior members of its US technology investment banking team last week, including a director and managing director (MD) in software investment banking, even though the MD arrived less than two years ago. The bank declined to comment. Citi is reaching the end of the first stage of its 20,000 cuts - the extraction of 5,000 people from its managerial layers. It still has 5,000 people to remove from selling businesses, and 10,000 to cut from support functions like technology and operations. 

While the cuts continue, senior people are also vanishing from Citi of their own accords. As we reported last week, Linos Lekkas has decided to retire from his job as European vice chairman. Bloomberg reported late on Thursday that Gregor Feige, Citi's co-head of technology and communications equity capital markets is leaving for UBS. New York-based Citi MD Ali Syed is off to Lazard to cover sovereign wealth funds. David Trahan, Citi's head of US investment grade debt syndicate is leaving too, although it's not clear whether this was Trahan's intention or not. Hopefully none of the senior people who are going mistook their pink slips for a jape. 

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AUTHORSarah Butcher Global Editor
  • De
    DeezNuts2024
    4 April 2024

    Entertaining story. Although, lacking real inside insight.

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