Citigroup’s Paco Ybarra to Depart After 36 Years at Wall Street Giant

Citigroup Inc.’s Paco Ybarra, one of Chief Executive Officer Jane Fraser’s top deputies, will depart after 36 years at the Wall Street giant.

(Bloomberg) — Citigroup Inc.’s Paco Ybarra, one of Chief Executive Officer Jane Fraser’s top deputies, will depart after 36 years at the Wall Street giant. 

Ybarra, 61, who is head of the firm’s institutional clients group, will leave in the first half of next year, according to a memo to staff from Fraser. The institutional business includes Citigroup’s trading and investment-banking arms, as well as the firm’s treasury and trade division. 

“I deeply value his counsel and partnership, especially during my early days as CEO,” Fraser said in the memo. “Our bank is undoubtedly a better place because of all that Paco has contributed, and he will always have our deep and enduring gratitude.”

With the move, Ybarra will cap a meteoric rise through the New York-based bank that started in Madrid when he joined as a management associate in 1987. Since then, he’s held a variety of roles in the firm’s trading division before being named head of the institutional business in 2019.

Ybarra rose through the ranks of the firm’s emerging-markets trading division, giving him a front-row seat to a variety of economic crises, including one in 1994, when political turmoil in Mexico and US interest-rate increases helped spark a peso devaluation that fueled capital flight. 

He was ultimately named co-head of the firm’s sprawling fixed-income division, a role he held throughout the global financial crisis, before he was picked to oversee the entire trading division. More recently, he helped guide Citigroup through the Covid-19 pandemic, when he would at times take video conference calls seated in his home office with a miniature putting green in the background. 

“A picture of grace under fire, Paco helped Citi navigate some of our industry’s most challenging moments,” Fraser said in the memo. 

She didn’t name a successor for Ybarra, nor did she mention a search to replace him. She instead said that Citigroup will use the coming months to determine how to transition his responsibilities in a way that lines up with the firm’s work to simplify its organizational structure. 

His departure comes after Citigroup announced in March that it withheld some compensation it planned to award to Ybarra after the bank was forced to pay $200 million in penalties over employees’ use of unauthorized messaging channels such as WhatsApp last year. Even with the cut, Ybarra’s $18.9 million in compensation for 2022 rose from $18.4 million a year earlier. 

In recent years, Ybarra was given the task of helping develop the bank’s plans for complying with a pair of consent orders that regulators slapped on Citigroup in 2020. As part of that work, which Fraser has coined the bank’s “transformation,” Citigroup has had to overhaul many of its underlying technology and systems and improve its risk-management systems.

Watch: Citi’s Ybarra on Investment Banking Slump, Rates Trading (Video)

And as part of Fraser’s moves to rejigger Citigroup’s strategy and improve the bank’s returns, Ybarra worked on investing in two of the firm’s most profitable businesses: treasury and trade solutions and securities services. He also oversaw Citigroup’s moves to curtail business with some of its least-profitable clients in a bid to help boost returns in the firm’s markets business. 

“He helped drive the creation and implementation of our refreshed strategy, helped us make meaningful progress on our transformation,” Fraser said. “Knowing that these initiatives have taken hold and are progressing across the bank, Paco feels that now is the right time to make this change.” 

(Updates with additional background starting in fifth paragraph.)

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