John Hyman used to work for Kelleher at Morgan Stanley when Hyman was co-head of capital markets at the firm. Now Hyman has been elevated from deputy CEO to CEO of Russian investment bank Renaissance Capital. Steve Jennings, the founder of Renaissance Capital, has retreated from his own firm. He sold the remaining 50% of RenCap, as well as Renaissances profitable domestic consumer credit business, Renaissance Credit, to Mikhail Prokhorov, the Russian billionaire who owns the Onexim Group. Jennings is left running Renaissance Asset Managers and a mix of other businesses such as Rendeavour (an African urban development business), Renaissance Credit Nigeria (an African consumer lender) and Renaissance Real Estate.
To the outsider, this reorganization again seems odd. Renaissance Capital must have been finding the going tough for Jennings to sell it. Was it haemorrhaging money? This year there has been savage cost-cutting of the Asian operations: offices in Hong Kong, Beijing and India have been closed as the group focused on Russia and Africa.
More generally, international banks that waffle about the potential to grow their emerging market businesses should take note. Increasingly, it seems that the incumbents are eating the foreigners lunch. This has been the case both in China and now in Russia. In retrospect, maybe Bank of Americas unseemly rush to offload its stake in Chinese bank China Construction Bank, was not so foolhardy after all.