Citigroup to add jobs in Asia; Cuts loom elsewhere

Mar 29 | Updated: Mar 30 2007, 06:58am hrs
Citigroup Inc chief executive officer Charles Prince may add more than 10,000 employees in Asia through acquisitions as the biggest US bank presses for growth in some of the worlds fastest-growing economies. Citigroup plans to buy Bank of Overseas Chinese in Taiwan and Tokyo-based brokerage Nikko Cordial Corp. The company also is hiring about 1,000 people this year to increase its corporate, consumer and investment banking businesses in China, Prince said.

When we expand through acquisition, people come along with that, Prince said on Thursday at a press briefing in Beijing. We get lots of great people through transactions. Prince is under pressure from shareholders because Citigroups stock is trailing competitors and expenses increased twice as fast as revenue last year. Prince named Robert Druskin chief operating officer in December and asked him to identify ways to cut costs by the time the New York-based company reports first-quarter earnings next month.

Citigroup generates about 20% of its profit from Asia, compared with 41% at London-based HSBC Holdings Plc. The 57-year-old Prince has said he wants to generate more than 60% of earnings from outside the US, up from 45% last year. Prince didnt discuss details of the companys acquisition plans for Taiwan on Thursday. We have very strong growth throughout the international space, both in the emerging markets and in selected developed markets, Prince said.

Expansion in Japan should be very good, he said, referring to the proposed $13.4 billion purchase of Tokyo-based Nikko Cordial. Citigroup will cut more than $1 billion in costs this year to boost profit growth and the stock price, said a person with direct knowledge of the matter in January. As part of the plan, the company wont replace employees when they leave, said Manuel Medina-Mora, Latin America chairman and a member of the companys management committee, in an interview last week in Mexico.