MOSCOW Feb 21 Stephen Jennings, a pioneer on
Russia's turbulent financial markets in the 1990s, has left his
African business three months after losing the Moscow investment
bank he founded, a Russian newspaper reported on Thursday.
The Vedomosti daily, citing a letter to staff, said New
Zealander Jennings resigned on Jan. 1 as chief executive of
Renaissance Group, the business he retained after he exited his
loss-making investment bank, Renaissance Capital, in November.
"Stephen is in the same situation as many of you - a
shareholder who has left the group," Deputy CEO Hans Jochum Horn
said, according to a Russian translation of the letter.
Jennings' departure comes after the sale in November of his
one-half stake in Moscow investment bank Renaissance Capital,
and other assets, to tycoon Mikhail Prokhorov's Onexim group.
Renaissance Group - which includes African land development
projects, an African consumer finance business and Russian real
estate funds - is now preparing to sell its assets, the paper
Horn was quoted in the letter as saying he had carried out a
preliminary analysis of the group which showed it had assets of
$221 million but that these were opaque and illiquid.
The daily added that Horn asked the holders of three issues
of Eurobonds in total worth $250 million to agree to restructure
One source who received a letter sent by Horn told Reuters
it instructed shareholders to contact Horn rather than Jennings,
indicating he was no longer so operationally involved.
Jennings founded Renaissance in 1995, making his name and
fortune as a risk taker and dealmaker who rebuilt the business
twice after market crashes.
The September 2008 crash forced him to sell a one-half stake
in the investment bank to Prokhorov for $500 million to keep it
afloat, but he still faced tough competition from state banks
and declining demand for services.
After a downgrade in November by ratings agency Moody's, a
deal was announced to split the African-focused Renaissance
Group from the Russian-focused investment banking business
Renaissance Capital, which has since reduced its head count.
An email sent to Jennings and an email sent to Horn's
secretary were not returned.
(Reporting By Megan Davies; Editing by Douglas Busvine and Mark