• Traders James Nessel and Gaurav Gupta said to be departing
  • Markets managers said to be asked for names of people to cut

Citigroup Inc. traders James Nessel and Gaurav Gupta are leaving the bank as the industry grapples with a slump in fixed-income trading revenue, people briefed on their departures said.

Nessel was head of U.S. high-yield trading, while Gupta ran the European business for trading collateralized-loan obligations, a type of debt that packages loans into bonds, said the people, who asked not to be identified discussing personnel. Scott Helfman, a spokesman for the New York-based bank, declined to comment.

Citigroup has been reducing costs across the institutional and consumer businesses, as well as operations and technology, as the firm struggles to increase revenue. Chief Executive Officer Michael Corbat plans to eliminate at least 2,000 jobs this year, people familiar with the matter said in December.

The bank’s revenue from fixed-income and equity trading will probably drop 15 percent in the first quarter, Chief Financial Officer John Gerspach said during an investor presentation this month.

Vitaliy Kozak will replace Gupta, who will remain for a few weeks to oversee the transition, one of the people said. Nessel and Gupta didn’t respond to phone messages seeking comment.

Managers in the markets division, run by Paco Ybarra, were recently asked to provide names of junior employees they could afford to lose, according to another person.

Huang’s Departure

Nessel, formerly head of loan trading, was named to oversee high-yield bond trading in 2012 when Chris Yanney left. He joined Citigroup in 1998, according to industry records. Nessel has served on the board of the Loan Syndications & Trading Association, an industry trade group.

He is the latest bond-trading chief to leave Wall Street this year amid turbulent markets for debt issued by companies rated below investment grade. Credit Suisse Group AG’s Matthew Courey and Barclays Plc head of distressed-debt trading head Dan Crowley have also left.

Gupta, who’s spoken at CLO industry conferences, joined Citigroup in 2007.

Jay Huang, global head of collateralized debt obligations trading, left the bank last week, people with knowledge of the matter said at the time. He was one of the early traders of distressed structured-investment securities after the 2008 financial crisis. Such trading has slowed in recent years as the debt has been unwound. Huang had been with the bank since at least 2000, records show.

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