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Nomura's head of wholesale banking quits

Jesse Bhattal has quit the Japanese investment bank – but Euromoney reported the first hints of people calling for him to leave in October 2011.

Nomura has announced that Jasjit (also known as Jesse) Bhattal has quit the investment bank as the president and CEO of the wholesale division and deputy president of Nomura Holdings – after less than two years at the post.

It revealed:

Mr. Bhattal's responsibilities will be assumed on an interim basis by Nomura Group COO and chairman for wholesale, Takumi Shibata, who will also determine the strategy to appoint his permanent successor.

Mr. Shibata commented: "Jesse has had a distinguished career, spanning nearly three decades in the industry. We would like to thank him for his contribution in leading the wholesale business through exceptionally difficult markets, growing market share across all key product lines and helping to transform the franchise. He leaves Nomura well-positioned in terms of depth of management talent and client relationships to establish us as Asia's number-one global investment bank. We wish him well in his future endeavours."

But this does not come as a surprise to Euromoney. Our columnist Abigail Hofman wrote an articlethat caused some stirrings around the market in October:

Since 2008, I have criticised Nomura for its bloated cost base arising from the acquisition of the Lehman Brother’s Asian and European operations.

Money has been poured down a bottomless pit and vainglorious strategies for global dominance proffered. I exaggerate slightly but Nomura’s desire to expand its equities business in the States and compete in that market strikes me as fool-hardy. If analysts expect the top investment bank, Goldman Sachs, to make a third quarter loss, I shudder to think what Nomura’s numbers will look like.

An impeccable source told me: “Nomura has to fire Jesse Bhattal (the current head of wholesale and deputy president of the firm who used to be Lehman’s chief executive in Asia) and bring in someone who is unemotional about the past and prepared to make drastic cuts. They need to get out of all wholesale businesses that are not profitable and shrink back to areas that build on their core expertise as Japan’s leading brokerage firm.” Source is correct and after wasting billions of dollars of shareholder’s money, Nomura should swallow hard and follow his suggestions.