Citigroup is losing one of its most senior dealmakers, with Alison Harding-Jones, the head of its M&A business in Europe, the Middle East and Africa, set to depart at the end of next month, according to three people with knowledge of the matter.
Harding-Jones has run the US bank’s M&A operations in the region since 2017, when Citi poached her from UBS as it sought to bolster its European business. She also holds the title of vice-chair of corporate and investment banking for the region.
She has advised on deals including Philip Morris International’s acquisition of the smokeless tobacco company Swedish Match, and the £4bn purchase of UK department store Selfridges by Thai conglomerate Central Group and Austrian group Signa in 2021.
Her departure comes as a slowdown in dealmaking activity hits investment banks around the world. Mergers and acquisitions fell by a record amount during the second half of 2022, as an economic slowdown and higher interest rates ended a period of frenetic activity. Worldwide, investment banks’ fees from M&A activity fell 26 per cent to $35bn last year.
Harding-Jones and Citigroup declined to comment. It is not clear what her next move will be.
The senior executive previously spent 28 years at UBS, including leading its Asia-Pacific M&A business based in Hong Kong. She is one of the few prominent female dealmakers at Citigroup.
Citigroup has recently brought in Jens Welter, a top dealmaker from Credit Suisse, as co-head of European investment banking and chair of its consumer and retail advisory business.
The bank lost Alberto Verme, a senior investment banker whose clients ranged from Saudi prince Alwaleed bin Talal to Russian oligarch Roman Abramovich, after he died this month at the age of 65. Citi’s chief executive Jane Fraser said in a note to employees that London-based Verme was “a true titan of our industry and a selfless mentor to many of us”.
Citi ranked fourth among global banks with a 16 per cent share of the overall M&A advisory business in 2022, behind Goldman Sachs, JPMorgan and Morgan Stanley, figures from Refinitiv show.