is continuing its organizational restructuring effort by establishing a beachhead within its investment banking arm for a new alternative asset group.
The New York-based financial titan said the new unit will encompass two existing groups -- private equity sponsors, or "financial entrepreneurs," and "infrastructure," according to an internal memo obtained by
. The group will be responsible for "maintaining and growing the existing business, but also with developing and implementing a new strategy for similar asset classes including hedge funds as well as the more traditional players," the memo said.
Chad Leat, vice chairman of the bank's capital markets originations, has been named chairman of the unit while Brad Coleman will become the group's global head, Citi said. Leat will continue to work with the heads of Citi's markets and banking and capital markets businesses to approve leveraged finance and global loan commitments, the memo said.
"We have seen enormous growth in both the size and importance of alternative assets to our business and an ever increasing convergence in the investor base for these assets," the memo said. "For Citi to capture the business opportunities that present themselves now and especially in the future, we need a more coordinated and holistic approach to these businesses."
Separately, banker Kamal Tabet, part of Citi's global financial-entrepreneurs group in London, is taking a sabbatical through the end of the year, according to the
Wall Street Journal
. It isn't clear yet if Tabet will return to Citi after the sabbatical, the
The change comes as CEO Vikram Pandit attempts to steer the New York-based global financial conglomerate into safer waters amid billions of dollars of securities writedowns and credit costs. The company reported last month a $5.1 billion loss for the first quarter amid an additional $12 billion in pretax writedowns and a $3.1 billion increase in credit costs in the global consumer business.
Under Pandit's leadership, Citi is undergoing a
, which includes job cuts, organizational streamlining by geography and the sale of non-core assets. It announced 9,000 job cuts last month, bringing the total to roughly 30,000 since last year.
Citi shares rose slightly on Tuesday. Shares of other large banks including
Bank of America