Credit Suisse has lost one of its top remaining dealmakers to Citigroup as the beleaguered Swiss lender prepares for a major restructuring of its investment bank after a series of scandals.
Jens Welter is leaving Credit Suisse less than nine months after being named co-head of the world bank, ending a 27-year career at the Swiss bank where he rose to prominence as a top adviser to consumer companies such as Nestlé.
Welter will join Citi as the new co-head of European investment banking and will also become president of its consumer and retail advisory business, which works with the biggest companies in these industries globally. He will join Spanish banker Ignacio Gutiérrez-Orrantia to lead Citi’s business in Europe, the Middle East and Africa.
“Jens is one of the best consumer bankers around. We’ve been talking for a long time,” said Manolo Falco, global co-head of investment banking at Citi. “We really wanted to scale this properly. We don’t usually make a move like this.
Gutiérrez-Orrantia said, “Jens and I are fully aligned on the franchise’s ambition and growth potential and what it will take to achieve success.”
Falco said Citi was looking to capitalize on the market downturn to hire senior bankers in Europe. The US bank recently hired veteran Deutsche Bank trader Patrick Frowein and JPMorgan Chase banker Barry Weir to senior positions in its European advisory business.
Citi has also added senior traders to its consumer and retail advisory businesses, including the addition of Goldman Sachs banker Chuck Adams last year.
By contrast, Credit Suisse has suffered a string of executive departures from its investment bank over the past two years, as a series of scandals have hit the group’s share price and led to senior executives accept offers from competitors. Welter will join Citi after three months off from gardening.
Credit Suisse investment banking co-head David Miller informed staff of Welter’s departure in an email seen by the Financial Times, which also revealed that David Wah would become the sole global head of the bank.
He added that Cathal Deasy and Giuseppe Monarchi were appointed co-heads of investment banking and capital markets for Europe, the Middle East and Africa.
New chief executive Ulrich Körner, who was installed by chairman Axel Lehmann over the summer, is planning a complete overhaul of the 166-year-old lender, which will involve downsizing the investment bank and cutting thousands of jobs.
The latest plans under consideration, which will be unveiled by the bank’s third quarter results on October 27, include splitting the investment bank into three and resurrecting a “bad bank” for high-value assets. risk and companies for sale, the Financial Times reported last week.
Credit Suisse board members recently proposed offering senior executives a stake in the investment bank as a way to retain staff. The idea was widely seen as heralding a future spin-off of the bank’s advisory business, although people with knowledge of the matter said it was not an immediate priority.
Shares of Credit Suisse hit an all-time low below SFr4 on Tuesday after falling 17% last week on market fears the bank was planning a capital raise. Shares are down more than 56% this year.
Körner and Lehmann sought to calm staff nerves following recent speculation about their plans for the business, emailing the entire group last week.
“We want to establish a clear path for the bank that will strengthen our long-term franchise. This process requires time and significant effort from many parts of the organization,” they wrote.