Citigroup Asia Pacific executive Faruqui leaves for ANZ

Tue May 13, 2014 10:16pm EDT

The logo of Australia and New Zealand Banking Group Ltd (ANZ) is pictured on a local branch in Sydney April 30, 2014. REUTERS/David Gray

The logo of Australia and New Zealand Banking Group Ltd (ANZ) is pictured on a local branch in Sydney April 30, 2014.

Credit: Reuters/David Gray

(Reuters) - Farhan Faruqui, one of Citigroup Inc's (C.N) highest-ranking bankers in Asia, is leaving the company to work for rival Australia and New Zealand Banking Group Ltd

The departure of Faruqui, a 23-year veteran of the company who heads corporate and investment banking for Asia Pacific, was announced in a Citigroup internal memo dated Tuesday.

On Wednesday, ANZ said Faruqui would take on the role of chief executive officer, international banking, from August. He would be based in Hong Kong, it added.

Faruqui will support ANZ's so-called super regional strategy "by improving connectivity between ANZ's 33 markets", the Melbourne-based bank said in a statement.

The heads of international banking in both Australia and New Zealand as well as the country chief executives in Asia, the Pacific, Europe, the Middle East and America will report to Faruqui, ANZ added.

"Farhan is an international banker with deep experience in Asia," Andrew Geczy, ANZ's CEO of International and Institutional Banking, said in a statement. "Throughout his 23 years with Citigroup, he has built an impressive track record developing businesses across multiple geographies."

Faruqui became Citigroup's head for corporate and investment banking in Asia Pacific in 2009, and played a key role in maintaining relationships with business clients after the financial crisis, according to a person who has worked with him. The person declined to be named as he was not authorized to speak to the media.

Faruqui will be replaced by "new leadership" to be announced within the next few weeks, according to a Citigroup memo to employees. The memo was sent by Raymond McGuire, global head of corporate and investment banking. The business Faruqui headed is "critically important to Citi," McGuire wrote.

Citigroup executives have said that catering to companies doing business in Asia is a key part of their plan to thrive on economic growth outside of the United States.

Citigroup, the third-largest U.S. bank by assets, considers its international reach to be its competitive advantage over other big U.S. lenders. But the bank has been under pressure to more tightly manage its global operations to improve its lagging profitability and to reduce its risks.

ANZ operates in about 15 Asia markets. It has been pushing to build its businesses outside of Australia and New Zealand and become a regional banking power.

Before Faruqui was put in charge of corporate and investment banking five years ago, he oversaw Citigroup's realignment of its corporate banking business into a regional commercial bank. He had previously led the fixed-income franchise in Asia Pacific, according to the memo.

(Reporting by David Henry in New York and Lawrence White in Hong Kong, additional reporting by Denny Thomas in Hong Kong and Jane Wardell in Sydney; Editing by Tom Brown, Bernard Orr and Miral Fahmy)