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Tue 16 Jun 2020 12:50 PM

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Goldman banker moving from Dubai to London in latest Middle East change

The US bank's Middle East operation has seen a number of personnel changes in the last year

Goldman banker moving from Dubai to London in latest Middle East change

Goldman has been turning its attention in the Middle East to Saudi Arabia.

Goldman Sachs Group Inc. dealmaker Fabrice Francois is relocating from Dubai to London, people familiar with the matter said, in the latest change to the firm’s Middle East lineup.

Francois plans to move to the UK at the end of the summer, according to one of the people, who asked not to be identified because the information is private. He will join Goldman’s mid-market advisory franchise, known as the cross markets group, with a focus on private equity as well as technology, media and telecommunications dealmaking, the person said.

The banker, who was named a managing director in the firm’s most recent promotion round in November, moved to the Gulf in 2018 and worked on a number of financial sponsors deals.

It wasn’t immediately clear if Goldman plans to replace Francois in the Middle East. A representative for Goldman declined to comment.

The US bank’s Middle East operation has seen a number of personnel changes in the last year, including the departure of regional investment-banking head Hazem Shawki for Credit Suisse Group AG. Goldman named Selma Hassan as Shawki’s replacement in September. Martin Weber, the bank’s financing head for the Middle East and North Africa, also departed late last year.

Goldman has been turning its attention in the Middle East to Saudi Arabia after the fallout from the 1MDB corruption scandal resulted in the bank losing out on some lucrative mandates in Abu Dhabi, once one of its key regional markets. It was a global coordinator on Saudi Aramco’s initial public offering and also worked on the oil giant’s acquisition of a majority stake in Saudi Basic Industries Corp. worth about $69 billion.

The cross markets group Francois is joining forms a central part of Goldman’s strategy to win more mergers and acquisitions business with smaller clients. He fills a vacancy left by the departure of Devin Wilde, who moved to New York for a position on the activism and shareholder advisory team, according to an April internal memo.

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