(Adds background on Faruqui, Citigroup and ANZ)
By David Henry and Lawrence White
May 13 (Reuters) - Farhan Faruqui, one of Citigroup Inc’s highest-ranking bankers in Asia, is leaving the company to work for rival Australia and New Zealand Banking Group Ltd , according to three people familiar with the matter.
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. Three people who know Faruqui said he is going to work for ANZ.
Faruqui declined to comment. He was named to his current role in 2009, and played a key role in the bank maintaining its relationships with business clients after the financial crisis, according to a person who has worked with him. The person was not authorized to speak on the record.
Faruqui will be replaced by ”new leadership“ to be announced in ”the next few weeks, according to the memo to employees. The memo was sent by Raymond McGuire, global head of corporate and investment banking. The business Faruqui has 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; Editing by Tom Brown, Bernard Orr)