RETAIL BANKING | Cesar Tordesillas, Japan

Citigroup seeks Japanese to head Japan ops

Citibank Japan  head Darren Buckley may step down as soon as regulators prepare to punish the bank for the third time since 2004.


Citigroup Inc.  is searching for a Japanese national to become the chief executive officer at its local banking unit for the first time to ensure the person is familiar with local rules and the nation’s retail marke.

Buckley, 45, is likely to step aside after the Financial Services Agency penalizes the bank for failing to fully explain product risk to retail customers, the people said. He will stay at Citigroup after stepping down, according to one of the people. An interim replacement would then guide the firm while Citigroup talks with FSA officials to form a
shortlist of candidates for the permanent role as soon as January, the people said.

Japanese officials have criticized foreigners in management posts at banks in the past.

Last year, Shinsei Bank Ltd., the lender part-owned by U.S. investor J. Christopher Flowers, replaced four foreign executives after two years of losses, a failed merger and criticism by former Financial Services Minister Shizuka Kamei that their pay was “exorbitant.”

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