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Breaking news: Why Banga quit Citi

Citi’s regional CEO for Asia leaves for Mastercard.


Ajay Banga has left Citi to become president COO of Mastercard after less than a year at the helm of the US bank’s Asia-Pacific business. The news is a blow to Citi, which was in the process of reorganizing its Asian businesses under Banga as detailed in a May story in Euromoney, ‘Banga demolishes Citi’s Asia-Pac silos. Although Citi declined to comment officially on the move beyond a statement saying that a successor would be appointed soon, sources both within the firm and outside it are already speculating on who that might be.

The frontrunners are believed to be Shengman Zhang, the firm’s regional president, and Stephen Bird, head of the firm’s Asia consumer business and of the key north Asia region. Another candidate mentioned is Farhan Faruqui, a rapidly rising star within the firm who now heads the global banking business for Asia, although a source within the firm speculated that it might be “a little too soon for Farhan [to reach that level].”

Where the move leaves Citi’s regional leadership will become clearer once the successor has been chosen.

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