Nomura's Vereker quits top role, seen leaving

LONDON Mon Sep 3, 2012 5:16pm EDT

A woman under an umbrella is reflected on a sign board outside a Nomura Securities branch in Tokyo August 3, 2012. REUTERS/Yuriko Nakao

A woman under an umbrella is reflected on a sign board outside a Nomura Securities branch in Tokyo August 3, 2012.

Credit: Reuters/Yuriko Nakao

LONDON (Reuters) - Prominent dealmaker William Vereker is stepping down as joint head of investment banking at Nomura (8604.T), and has been given a new title, a move colleagues said would lead to his imminent departure.

His departure would be seen as further blow to the Japanese bank as it makes heavy cuts in its overseas operations.

Vereker, who has been advising Xstrata XTA.L on its merger with Glencore (GLEN.L) - a top live deal in Europe - is one of the few senior ex-Lehman bankers still at Nomura after it bought the collapsed U.S. firm's European operations in 2008.

Vereker's new title would be vice-chairman of investment banking, an internal memo obtained by Reuters showed. A Nomura spokesman confirmed the contents of the memo and said Vereker would focus on a pipeline of existing deals.

Vereker declined comment.

In investment banking jargon, being a chairman often means having to groom clients without direct managerial responsibilities.

But colleagues who work with Vereker said that the 45-year old would in all likelihood leave the bank soon, now that he was no longer in charge of the investment banking operations, even if he would see existing deals to an end.

"I'd be amazed if he stayed. Why would he?," said one of his colleagues who requested anonymity.

"He built up a fantastic business in really difficult circumstances. Why would he do just the client role, when he has been running the business?", the colleague said.

Nomura said last week it would cut an additional $1 billion in costs, the second major restructuring of its loss-making overseas operations in less than year, and the first mark new Chief Executive Koji Nagai is making on the bank.

Nagai has promised a break with the past strategy of former Chief Executive Kenichi Watanabe and Chief Operating Officer Takumi Shibata, architects of the troubled Lehman acquisition.

In January, ex-Lehman executive Jasjit Bhattal abruptly left as head of the wholesale banking division - which includes investment banking as well as sales and trading - along with markets head Tarun Jotwani.

Vereker had been a candidate to succeed Bhattal, sources familiar with the matter have told Reuters.

But when Bhattal left, Shibata took on his role in addition to his job as chief operating officer. And when Shibata himself stepped down in July, he was replaced in both roles by Atsushi Yoshikawa, scuppering Vereker's chances of a promotion.

In the new set-up, Kentaro Okuda - who had been joint head with Vereker - would assume sole leadership of global investment banking, the memo said.

James DeNaut and Charles Pitts-Tucker have been appointed joint international heads of investment banking, both reporting to Okuda, the memo also said.

Watanabe and Shibata were forced out under pressure from Japan's financial regulators because of Nomura's slow response to widespread compliance problems.

The pair had set out to transform Nomura from a conservative, domestically focused securities house into a global investment banking titan, and most of the announced cuts are expected to fall in its overseas operations.

(Editing by Steve Slater, David Holmes and Clive McKeef)

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