Citi warns UK staff of cuts as hundreds of roles could be affected


© Reuters. FILE PHOTO: Staff enter the Citigroup building in London’s financial district of Canary Wharf November 18, 2008. REUTERS/Kevin Coombs (BRITAIN)/File Photo

By Anousha Sakoui

LONDON (Reuters) -Citigroup has warned UK-based employees of the likelihood of redundancies as the lender pushes ahead with a sweeping reorganisation, according to a memo seen by Reuters on Friday, a move that could affect hundreds of jobs in the country.

The bank, which has about 16,000 employees in the UK, said it was moving into phase two of its plans to rationalise its banking structure and as part of that would set up a consultation process whereby employees can give their feedback.

“We anticipate that the reviews may lead to a reduction in roles in some parts of the business, and changes to some other roles. In some cases, colleagues may be placed at risk of redundancy,” James Bardick, UK Citi Country Officer, told employees in the memo seen by Reuters.

The bank did not tell Britain and North Ireland-based employees how many jobs would be eliminated. “As we take the necessary next steps to align our organisation model with our strategy, we’re committed to following all legal and regulatory requirements and, importantly, supporting our colleagues through these changes,” a Citi spokesperson said in a statement to Reuters.

Bankers have been bracing for change after CEO Jane Fraser said earlier this month that Citigroup (NYSE:), the third-largest U.S. bank, would strip out a layer of management and cut jobs. The overhaul involves its five divisions reporting directly to the CEO and cutting regional roles outside of North America.

“Change isn’t easy, and we recognise the uncertainty that many of our colleagues are experiencing,” Bardick added. “We are moving at pace to provide clarity while following our processes and allowing for needed input from team leaders.”

It is not known which areas of the bank’s UK operations will be targeted for layoffs.

Under local rules, organisations must consult with employees when there could be more than 20 redundancies.

Citigroup said it will be conferring with the London Consultation Forum (LCF) over the coming weeks as part of a collective consultation process. It will also give Belfast-based workers the ability to elect representatives as part of the consultation process.

The bank said it would consult with employees at risk of redundancy on an individual basis. 

Fraser described the changes as Citi’s biggest reorganisation in almost two decades, in a bid to gain more direct control over its units and boost profit and share price.

In recent days in the United States Citi started discussions with employees about potential layoffs, with support staff in compliance and risk management among those areas targeted, Reuters reported.

Technology staff working on overlapping functions were also at risk of being laid off, Reuters reported.

Kristine Braden, CEO of Citibank Europe, is leaving the company after 25 years as part the organisational change, according to an internal memo seen by Reuters.

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