Citigroup said on Monday that it is expanding its Irish commercial banking activities. The announcement comes at a time of mounting concern that staff in its European banking hub in Ireland may be caught up in wider job cuts being planned across the US banking giant.
Citi, as the group is commonly known, has appointed 25-year veteran Craig Duignan as head of Ireland for Citi Commercial Bank, as the business widens its focus from previously serving mid-sized corporates in the digital and tech space to also target companies in the manufacturing, pharmaceutical, life sciences, professional services and healthcare sectors that are planning to scale internationally. Citi Commercial Bank has been active in the Irish market for the past five years.
“The expansion of Citi Commercial Bank in Ireland adds to our already comprehensive offering. From Ireland, we now provide clients with a broad spectrum of Citi’s global products and services,” said Davinia Conlan, Citi country head for Ireland.
The expansion of this area of activity comes, however, at a time of heightened concerns about job cuts being planned by group chief executive Jane Fraser.
Some 2,900 people are employed by the group in the Republic, where its EU banking headquarters is based. More than 300 of the Irish roles were created since early last year. It is currently in the process of developing a new building at Waterfront South Central in Dublin’s north docklands, which, it said on Monday, is “a signal of its long term commitment to Ireland”.
Ms Fraser has warned the bank’s 240,000 employees it is time to sign up to her overhaul of the bank or “get off the train” as she cuts jobs and hacks back the lender’s top-heavy management structure, the Financial Times reported on Monday.
The message was delivered in a town hall meeting last week, according to the report, which added that the uncompromising message appeared to mark a change in tone to some employees given Ms Fraser has cultivated an image of approachability during her more than two years at the head of Citi.
It came two weeks after Ms Fraser announced an initial phase of the overhaul, including the stripping out of a layer of management as she seeks to simplify Citigroup’s structure.
Kristine Braden, chief executive of Dublin-based Citibank Europe and head of wider European business, including its broker-dealer unit in Frankfurt, said on September 15th that she is leaving the group after 25 years as part of the reorganisation. However, the function as CEO of Citibank Europe, which is regulated by the Central Bank of Ireland, will need to be filled.
Citigroup warned UK-based employees last week in a memo of likely redundancies, which could affect hundreds of the 16,000 jobs in the country. The wider job cuts are expected to be announced in the near future.
“We have incredibly high ambitions for this bank and, the train, it’s gonna move fast,” Ms Fraser is cited by the Financial Times as saying at the town hall meeting last week. “So lean in, help us win with clients, help us deliver the changes, or get off the train.”