Mercuria Said to Hire Ex-Goldman Commodity Co-Head Shenouda

Mercuria Energy Group Ltd. hired former Goldman Sachs Group Inc. partner Magid Shenouda as global head of trading, the most senior ex-banker to join the Swiss commodity firm, said a person with knowledge of the matter.

Shenouda, the former London-based co-head of Goldman’s global commodities unit, will also join the fast-growing trader’s board of directors, said the person, who asked not to be identified because the decision hasn’t been made public. The appointment was announced today in a memo to Mercuria staff seen by Bloomberg News.

As investment banks pull back from commodities amid heightened regulatory scrutiny, firms like Mercuria are snapping up high-profile talent and assets. The company agreed in March to buy JPMorgan Chase & Co.’s physical commodity business for $3.5 billion.

Mercuria has offered jobs to about 200 people from the JPMorgan unit. Etienne Amic, managing director for European energy trading at JPMorgan in London, will join the firm, said people with knowledge of the matter. Raj Chawla, JPMorgan’s head of China commodities, will become Asia Pacific chief operating officer based in Singapore, two of the people said.

Mercuria spokesman Benoit Lioud declined to comment.

Shenouda will be the number three executive at the Geneva-based company after co-founders Marco Dunand and Daniel Jaeggi, one of the people said. A 14-year veteran of Goldman Sachs, he takes over the head trading role from Jaeggi, who will focus more on strategy and the integration of the JPMorgan business.

Top Sphere

In less than a decade, the founders have transformed Mercuria from a 10-person company supplying oil to a pair of Polish refineries into the world’s fourth-largest independent commodity trader with revenue topping $112 billion in 2013.

Seeking to join the top sphere of independent trading firms such as Vitol Group and Trafigura Beheer BV, Mercuria has hired 570 staff from 2011 to 2013 including key executives from investment banks. It now has about 1,200 employees.

The appointments included Houston-based Shameek Konar, a former managing director at Goldman who is chief investment officer overseeing Mercuria’s corporate development including the JPMorgan acquisition. Victoria Attwood Scott, Mercuria’s head of compliance, also joined from Goldman.

Former Traders

Roger Jones, the ex-head of commodities at Barclays Plc who has spent more than a quarter-century trading, was hired in 2012 to lead its non-oil business and join the board.

Shenouda, whose recruitment by Mercuria was reported earlier by the Wall Street Journal, left Goldman last year, according to an internal memo confirmed by the bank on Oct. 29. He joined New York-based Goldman in 1999 and became a partner in 2008.

Before he was the co-head of Goldman’s global commodity business, Shenouda ran the bank’s European crude oil and products trading unit as well as its European gas and power trading business.

Former Goldman traders themselves, Dunand and Jaeggi will significantly increase Mercuria’s gas and power trading with the JPMorgan deal. The company has offered jobs to about 200 JPMorgan traders, or about half of the commodity business staff, a person with knowledge of the matter said this month.

Blythe Masters, head of JPMorgan’s commodity unit, will leave the bank once the sale of the business is completed, the firm said last month.

Banks from Barclays to Morgan Stanley are exiting or shrinking their commodities businesses as regulators crack down on risk and as revenue falls. Sales for the 10 largest investment-bank commodity businesses fell to $4.5 billion in 2013 from $14 billion in 2008, according to London-based analytics company Coalition.

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