Three former employees of Morgan Stanley left OAO Rosneft after eight months at the firm as Russia’s largest oil company switched its bank’s strategy to focus on corporate and consumer banking.
Rair Simonyan and Elena Titova, Morgan Stanley’s two top bankers in Moscow, and Walid Chammah, a former head of its international unit, departed from the Russian Regional Development Bank, Rosneft said in an e-mailed statement today.
Igor Sechin, an ally of President Vladimir Putin who runs Rosneft, hired the trio and Igor Kan, former head of Russian equities at Citigroup Inc. in Moscow, to help hedge the company’s oil risk. Simonyan, Titova and Chammah joined from Morgan Stanley in November along with 10 of the U.S. bank’s support staff.
Sechin didn’t respond to requests for more information on Rosneft’s banking plans. Chammah declined to comment by phone.
Dominique Strauss-Kahn, the former head of the International Monetary Fund, was appointed to the bank’s supervisory board, a spokeswoman for Rosneft said on the usual condition of anonymity. Strauss-Kahn left the IMF in 2011 after facing allegations including the attempted rape of a hotel maid in New York. He denied the charges, which were later dropped, and he settled the maid’s lawsuit last year.
Morgan Stanley, based in New York, was Russia’s top mergers and acquisitions adviser in 2010 and 2011. It tumbled to seventh position last year after the Rosneft defections, according to data compiled by Bloomberg.
The U.S. bank advised Rosneft on its $10.4 billion initial public offering in 2006, Russia’s largest. It was one of the first U.S. financial firms to enter Russia after the Soviet Union collapsed, opening an office in Moscow in 1994.