Goldman's Russia Co-Heads Resign in Management Overhaul

Goldman Sachs Group Inc.’s top two executives in Russia are leaving, part of an overhaul of its management in a country mired in its first recession in six years.

Nick Jordan and Paolo Zannoni will be replaced by Sergei Arsenyev, Dmitri Sedov and Timothy Talkington as co-heads of Goldman’s Russia and Commonwealth of Independent States business, the bank said in an e-mailed statement Wednesday.

Jordan, who joined Goldman from UBS Group AG in 2013, is leaving banking for another opportunity after 35 years in finance, he said by phone, without disclosing his plans. Zannoni, a partner who was named country chief in 2012, will continue to serve as chairman of the Goldman’s Italian investment banking business, the company said.

The bank also said it is setting up a leadership group comprising the heads of five divisions to drive the business. It will focus on “growing the franchise across products and developing a strong team on the ground in Moscow,” Goldman said.

Investment banking profits in Russia -- for both foreign and domestic firms -- have declined 62 percent this year as international sanctions over Ukraine and the collapse in oil prices curtail deal-making. Fees paid by Russian companies are at their lowest since 2002, according to New York-based consultancy Freeman & Co.

“With Russia being a binary bet until the situation with sanctions and oil improve, many bankers are choosing to pack bags rather than put their careers on hold,” said Simon Fentham-Fletcher, chief investment officer at Freedom Asset Management, who left Russia in 2015 after nearly eight years.

While Goldman is looking to expand, profit pressures are prompting some other global financial firms to pull out of Russia. Franklin Templeton, which oversees almost $900 billion of assets, is liquidating its fund for the region, while French bank BNP Paribas SA exited its local fund-management venture and German reinsurer Munich Re closed its Moscow office this year.

Earlier this month, Deutsche Bank AG said it will close its Russian banking and securities businesses. Germany’s largest bank faces probes into whether trades by Russian clients violated laws against money laundering, according to people with knowledge of the situation.

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