Goldman Sachs Group Inc. (GS) hired Nick Jordan from UBS AG (UBSN) as co-head of its operations in Moscow in the fourth overhaul of its leadership in the country in as many years, according to two people with knowledge of the move.
Jordan, a 53-year-old, Russian-speaking American, will work alongside Paolo Zannoni, who was named country chief last year, said the people, who asked not to be identified as the move hasn’t been made public. Jordan, the former chief of Lehman Brothers Holdings Inc.’s Russian unit, was named head of UBS’s local operations in 2010.
“UBS was too small for Nick taking into account its limited commitment to Russia,” Ilya Scherbovich, founder of investment firm United Capital Partners, who worked with him at Deutsche UFG, said in an e-mail today. “Nick is the most experienced banker on the Russian market by far and he was involved in dozens of very important transactions in Russia.”
Goldman Sachs is adding staff after the government hired it last month to advise it on attracting more institutional investors. The Wall Street firm is also one of 23 foreign and domestic banks selected to advise Russia on its 1 trillion-ruble ($33 billion) privatization program.
Monika Schaller, a Goldman Sachs spokeswoman in Frankfurt, and Dominik Von Arx, a UBS spokesman in London, declined to comment. UBS, Switzerland’s biggest bank based in Zurich, has been scaling back its investment bank, cutting 10,000 jobs over three years and exiting most debt-trading businesses to focus on money management and boost its return on equity.
Zannoni, previously chairman of Italian investment banking, took over as chief of Russian operations about a year ago from co-heads Chris Barter, who left to start an investment fund in London, and Jean Raby, who returned to Paris.
Goldman Sachs, the fifth-biggest U.S. bank by assets, hasn’t had a Russian citizen as head or co-head of its Moscow office since Elena Titova left in 2006.
Last year, the firm helped advise OAO Sberbank, Russia’s largest lender, on a $5.2 billion equity sale. The bank was the fifth-biggest organizer of Russian stock offerings last year and sixth in arranging mergers and acquisitions, according to data compiled by Bloomberg. It was the 10th-biggest arranger of Russian Eurobonds, data shows.
Goldman Sachs struggled in its first decade in Russia. After opening its first office in Moscow in 1994, it later scaled back as part of a worldwide retrenchment. It returned in 1998, weeks before Russia defaulted, withdrew almost entirely after that crisis, and increased its presence again in 2006.
Jordan, who grew up in New York speaking Russian at home because all four of his grandparents were raised in the Soviet Union, is one of three brothers involved in banking. In the mid-1990s, his younger brother Boris co-founded Renaissance Capital, the investment bank now partly owned by billionaire Mikhail Prokhorov. Another brother, Michael, previously worked for a New York unit of billionaire Mikhail Fridman’s Alfa Bank.
Jordan was co-head of global banking at Deutsche UFG, the company created in December 2005 when Deutsche Bank bought control of Moscow-based United Financial Group. He left in 2007, when the German bank was topping the league tables of investment-banking mandates in Russia, to run Lehman’s Russian office -- a year before the Wall Street firm collapsed.
He was paid more than $7 million a year to join Lehman from Deutsche Bank, two people familiar with the matter said at the time.
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