Citi Hires Attolico, Di Stefano for Italy Investment Bank

Citigroup Inc. hired Pierpaolo di Stefano and Leopoldo Attolico to run investment banking in Italy as the euro-region’s third-largest economy emerges from recession.

Attolico, 50, joins from Deutsche Bank AG, where he was vice chairman of investment banking for Italy, while Di Stefano was hired from Nomura Holdings Inc., where he oversaw Italian investment banking. Both report to Luigi de Vecchi, chairman of corporate and investment banking for continental Europe, and to Renzo Arcoria, Italy country officer.

“We have important ambitions in Europe, and Italy is a market in which we need to boost our presence,” de Vecchi, who joined New York-based Citigroup this year, said in an interview yesterday. “The market is incredibly interesting and should yield great satisfaction over the next few years” as companies, banks and the government engage in deal making, he said.

Citigroup’s European chief, Jim Cowles, said in April he sees U.S. universal banks gaining market share in investment banking because they can absorb the rising cost of regulation better than European peers. To capture the business, Citigroup, the third-biggest U.S. lender, is reorganizing staff and hiring senior bankers while reducing total employment and costs.

Di Stefano and Attolico fill a position that was covered temporarily by other bankers after Pierluigi Colizzi left last year for London-based Barclays Plc.

Mergers involving Italian companies totaled $41 billion this year, up from about $26 billion in the same period last year, data compiled by Bloomberg show. In September, Italian business confidence rose to the highest in two years, a sign of optimism that the economy will emerge from a recession by the end of 2013.

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