Ex-RBS MidEast and Africa CEO joins Abu Dhabi bank

Simon Penney will join First Gulf Bank as head of its wholesale banking division
Ex-RBS MidEast and Africa CEO joins Abu Dhabi bank
By Reuters
Tue 28 May 2013 09:07 PM

Royal Bank of Scotland's former chief executive of its Middle East and Africa regional investment banking business is joining Abu Dhabi-based First Gulf Bank (FGB), two banking industry sources said on Tuesday.

Simon Penney, who resigned from RBS in March, will join FGB as head of its wholesale banking division, the sources said. At RBS he was replaced by James Miller.

FGB declined to comment, while Penney could not immediately be reached for comment.

One of the sources said an internal circular was sent out by FGB recently confirming Penney's appointment.

While Western banks have scaled back their operations in the region mainly due to issues back home, local banks, who are flush with liquidity, have been aggressively expanding and taking away market share from international banks in lending and other capital markets activity.

Banks such as Qatar National Bank and Dubai-based Emirates NBD have also acquired some of the assets of European lenders in the last year to diversify regionally and attracted several senior bankers from global banks to look at opportunities in local firms.

Last month National Bank of Abu Dhabi named Alex Thursby, the former chief executive of international and institutional banking at ANZ, as its chief executive.

Meanwhile QInvest, a Doha-based investment bank, appointed Michael Katounas, previously with Swiss lender Credit Suisse , to run its investment banking division.

FGB, the second-largest bank in the United Arab Emirates by market value, expects its loan book to grow by 10 percent in 2013, its chief financial officer said in February. The bank posted a 12 percent increase in first-quarter net profit on the back of higher net interest income.

RBS sold its retail operations in the region to Abu Dhabi Commercial Bank in 2010 and withdrew from the mergers and acquisitions business as part of a global plan in 2012. In the region, it focuses mainly on debt products, risk management and transaction banking.

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