* Investment banker Kok left Itau BBA in August
* Could lead Citigroup’s Brazil investment bank, IFR says
* Some Citigroup bankers left for Goldman Sachs in 2010
SAO PAULO, March 10 (Reuters) - Citigroup (C.N) may hire veteran dealmaker Andre Kok to head its investment banking unit in Brazil, a year after a group of senior bankers left Citi for Goldman Sachs, according to the International Financing Review.
Brazil-born Kok stepped down from Itau BBA last August and recently completed the period when he was prohibited from going to work for an Itau BBA rival, according to the IFR. Itau BBA is the wholesale and investment banking unit of Itau Unibanco (ITUB4.SA)(ITUB.N), Brazil’s biggest non-government bank.
According to the IFR, Kok’s departure from Itau BBA was shrouded in speculation because, as a top banker, he helped lead the revamp of its operations. He joined Itau BBA from UBS UBSN.VX in 2005.
Calls to Citigroup’s media office in Sao Paulo and messages to a Citigroup spokeswoman in London were not immediately answered. Kok could not be reached for comment.
Speculation surrounding the hiring of Kok comes a year after Goldman Sachs Group (GS.N), the world’s most profitable securities firm, poached seven bankers from Citi and rivals in Brazil to boost its local bond and stock underwriting and securities trading business. [ID:nN22192474]
On March 22, 2010, Fabio Bicudo, then in charge of Citigroup’s investment-banking division in Brazil, rejoined Goldman as head of the same unit. Goldman also poached Citigroup bankers Flavio Aidar, Joao Schmidt, Eduardo Guimaraes and Cristiano Camargo at that time.
IFR is a Thomson Reuters unit. (Reporting by Guillermo Parra-Bernal; editing by John Wallace)