Citigroup Lines Up Managers for Japan Unit After Rule Breaches

Citigroup Inc. (C) lined up executives to lead Japanese operations as the third-biggest U.S. bank by assets seeks to restore its reputation in the country following regulatory breaches.

Peter Eliot will become chief executive officer of the Japan holding company in June, according to a person with knowledge of the appointment who declined to be identified because it hasn’t been announced publicly. Kazuya Jono will join the company from Sumitomo Mitsui Banking Corp. to become president of the banking unit in the same month, the person said.

Chief Executive Officer Vikram Pandit is trying to restore Citigroup’s standing in Japan, where regulators punished the New York-based lender for at least the third time in seven years in December. The selections of Eliot and Jono follow the resignation of Darren Buckley from both roles in January.

Mika Nemoto, a spokeswoman for Citigroup in Japan, declined to comment. The appointments were reported earlier today by the Nikkei newspaper.

Japan’s Financial Services Agency in December told Citigroup to stop soliciting sales of products including mutual funds and currency deposits to retail customers after it failed to fully explain their risk. That same month, the FSA ordered the bank’s Japanese securities unit and Swiss lender UBS AG (UBSN) to suspend some derivatives transactions after finding that staff of the firms attempted to influence interbank lending rates.

Eliot, 54, had been acting chief of the banking unit since Buckley’s departure. He was formerly head of Citigroup in Thailand.

Jono, 57, an executive at Sumitomo Mitsui, joined a predecessor of the Japanese firm in 1977 after graduating from University of Tokyo. Most recently he has been responsible for risk control at the Tokyo-based lender, a unit of Japan’s second-biggest banking group by market value.

Citigroup had been seeking a Japanese national to run the local banking unit to ensure the person is familiar with the nation’s rules and retail market, two people familiar with the matter said in December.

To contact the reporter on this story: Takahiko Hyuga in Tokyo at thyuga@bloomberg.net

To contact the editor responsible for this story: Chitra Somayaji at csomayaji@bloomberg.net

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