Citigroup CEO to Meet Irish Prime Minister as Brexit Weighs

  • CEO Corbat due to attend Citigroup board meeting in Dublin
  • Company employs about 2,500 people in Ireland’s capital

Citigroup Inc. Chief Executive Officer Michael Corbat is scheduled to meet Irish Prime Minister Enda Kenny next week, as finance executives and politicians grapple with the fallout from Britain’s vote to leave the European Union.

Corbat is due to talk to Kenny when he’s in Dublin to attend a Citigroup board meeting in the city. His meeting with the Irish premier is part of Citigroup’s regular engagement with governments in countries where the bank operates, according to the person who asked not to be identified as the information is not yet public.

Citigroup employs about 2,500 people in Dublin, and has offices in Belfast in Northern Ireland. In an internal memo in June, the company said it employs more than 9,000 people in the U.K., out of about 22,000 in the EU, and said it may “rebalance” operations across the region if the U.K. opted to exit. Brexit is among the topics likely to be discussed at the meeting, according to a second person familiar with the agenda.

While the Citigroup board meeting was planned several months before the referendum, it will take place against a backdrop of growing concern that the U.K.’s departure from the European Union will make it harder to sell financial services from London. Dublin is among cities seeking to woo financial firms based in the U.K. that want to retain so-called “passporting” rights.

EU President Donald Tusk said in a speech on Thursday that the U.K. faces a so-called “hard Brexit.” That would mean Britain losing membership of Europe’s single market for goods and services to gain more control of immigration, its budget and law-making.

“The only real alternative to a hard Brexit is no Brexit, even if today hardly anyone believes in such a possibility,” Tusk said at European Policy Centre conference in Brussels.

A Citigroup spokeswoman declined to comment. A spokesman for Kenny said he wasn’t in a position to comment.

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