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(Updates with Barter’s plans in fifth paragraph.)
Feb. 1 (Bloomberg) -- Goldman Sachs Group Inc. said Paolo Zannoni, chairman of Italian investment banking, will take over as chief of Russian operations from co-heads Chris Barter and Jean Raby in the third leadership change in as many years.
Barter, who joined the Moscow office in 2007, will retire after 19 years while Raby will work with investment-banking clients, the New York-based firm said in a statement today. Massimo Della Ragione and Francesco Pascuzzi will continue as co-heads of investment banking in Italy.
The bank, led by Chief Executive Officer Lloyd Blankfein, has struggled after opening its first office in Moscow in 1994. It scaled back soon after as part of a worldwide retrenchment, returned in 1998 weeks before Russia defaulted, withdrew almost entirely after the crisis and ramped up again in 2006. The firm has since then more than tripled its Moscow workforce to 150.
“The old perception of Goldman Sachs in Russia is that we haven’t been consistent in our efforts in this country,” Barter said in an interview May 12. “This is not the reality today.” Barter was named sole head in January 2010 after sharing the job with David Schwimmer. A year later, Raby was named co-head.
Barter is quitting to set up an investment firm with two former colleagues, Ed Eisler and Sam Wisnia, City A.M. reported today, without saying where it got the information.
Goldman Sachs tumbled to 16th place in the rankings of advisers on Russia mergers and acquisitions last year from second spot in 2010, according to data compiled by Bloomberg. The bank didn’t rank in domestic Russian equities in 2011 after coming sixth in 2010, the data show. The firm was the sixth- placed arranger of foreign debt sales, up from 13th in 2010.
Blankfein is pushing to win mandates for the Kremlin’s $30 billion privatization program and, along with executives from other firms, is advising Russia on how to turn Moscow into a global financial center.
The government’s asset-sale plans have been delayed by the financial crisis, and Goldman Sachs lost out in December to Citigroup Inc., Deutsche Bank AG, BNP Paribas, OAO Sberbank and VTB Capital to organize the sovereign’s first foreign bond sale since 2010. VTB and Sberbank, Russia’s two largest lenders, are also boosting their investment banking business and are eating into market share of domestic and foreign competitors.
--Editors: Steve Bailey, Edward Evans
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