Rick Bartlett, Citigroup’s IPO-Seeking Equities Head, Dies at 46

Richard “Rick” Bartlett, who helped boost Citigroup Inc. as an underwriter of initial public offerings on his way to becoming the firm’s head of equities for the Americas, has died. He was 46.

He died on Jan. 24 at New York-Presbyterian Hospital/Columbia University Medical Center in Manhattan, according to a web page his wife, Loring Bartlett, created to keep friends updated. Danielle Romero-Apsilos, a bank spokeswoman, confirmed the death.

The cause was lung disease, for which he had been on a waiting list for a transplant.

“His courage, determination and fortitude were not able to overcome this insidious disease,” his wife wrote. “He fought incredibly hard to the end and the doctors did everything they possibly could, but the lungs he had waited for so bravely and patiently did not arrive.”

In a memo yesterday to their colleagues at Citigroup, the third-biggest U.S. bank by assets, senior markets executives Derek Bandeen, Suni Harford, Daniel Keegan wrote:

“People were drawn to Rick. How could they not be? He was thoughtful and charismatic. He was inspiring, seemingly always one step ahead. He put others first, himself thereafter. In Rick, you found someone invested in everything he did, everyone he came across.”

Medical Leave

Bartlett took a medical leave of absence from Citigroup last January. The bank named Keegan to succeed him.

Bartlett was a managing director and co-head of U.S. equity capital markets transactions at Salomon Smith Barney Inc. when its parent, Travelers Group Inc., was merged with Citicorp in 1998 to form Citigroup.

With Tyler Dickson, a classmate in Dartmouth College’s class of 1989, Bartlett led Citigroup’s U.S. stock underwriting in 2002, when the firm managed more IPOs, among Wall Street’s most lucrative businesses, than any of its competitors.

Citing that achievement, the financial magazine Euromoney named Citigroup “the world’s most improved equity house” for 2002. Citigroup had become a popular underwriting choice for private-equity firms doing leveraged buyouts, including Kohlberg Kravis Roberts & Co., today’s KKR & Co., the publication said.

“We’ve done 16 IPOs for nine different LBO firms since the start of 2001,” Bartlett said, according to Euromoney. “They’re not interested in whether we have a balance sheet when it comes to doing their IPO. All they care about is execution.”

Heading Equities

Citigroup promoted Bartlett in 2007 to head of equities for North and South America. He helped oversee a business that posted global revenue of $2.42 billion for 2012. Wall Street equities units, responsible for the trading of shares as well as equity derivatives, deal with some of a firm’s biggest clients, including hedge funds, pension funds and asset managers.

Richard Melvin Bartlett Jr. was born on March 25, 1967, and grew up in Hudson Falls, New York, near the southeast corner of the Adirondack Mountains, according to records from the Financial Industry Regulatory Authority and the website of his school district.

He was captain of the football and track teams, a varsity letterman on the basketball team, a member of the National Honor Society and president of his 1985 senior class.

Varsity Letters

At Dartmouth, in Hanover, New Hampshire, he earned varsity letters in football and track and field on his way to graduating with a degree in computer science in 1989. He went straight to Wall Street, working as an analyst at Drexel Burnham Lambert Inc. for less than a year until the firm filed for bankruptcy protection in 1990.

He moved to investment banking at Salomon Brothers Inc. and joined its Equity Capital Markets group in 1993.

Bartlett had three children, Jack, Cole and Cara, with his wife, the former Loring Barnett.

On Dec. 4, Bartlett posted a message of his own on the web page set up by his wife:

“As many of you know, my favorite phrase is ‘Keep Calm and Carry on,’” he wrote. “That is how I approach each day and it seems to be very appropriate during this difficult time.”

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