Citigroup Staff Uprooted for Weeks as Sandy Slams Wall Street
Citigroup Inc. (C), the third-largest U.S. bank, said its office at 111 Wall St. will be unusable for weeks and that a building housing senior capital-markets executives lost power after Hurricane Sandy hit Lower Manhattan.
“The building experienced severe flooding and will be out of commission for several weeks,” Chief Executive Officer Michael Corbat wrote yesterday in a memo to employees. “We will continue to use backup sites and work-from-home strategies as necessary.”
Citigroup is assessing when buildings at 388 and 390 Greenwich St. can open, a process complicated by power failures and transit disruptions, Corbat wrote. The New York-based company uses those offices as the headquarters for its trading and investment-banking operations.
Corbat, 52, who replaced Vikram Pandit as CEO on Oct. 16, was forced to relocate trading operations and shutter hundreds of branches, he said. The hurricane, the first storm in more than a century to close U.S. equity markets for two straight days, prompted other Wall Street firms such as JPMorgan Chase & Co. (JPM) and Bank of America Corp. to close branches and offices.
Deutsche Bank AG’s Wall Street office was free of flooding yesterday and operating on a backup generator, said a person familiar with the situation, who requested anonymity because the information hadn’t been announced publicly. Critical staff working in sales and trading and operations are using the office while others can work from home or other locations, the person said.
About 1,800 employees work in Citigroup’s Wall Street building, mostly in operations, technology and administrative roles, according to Shannon Bell, a bank spokeswoman. The firm has alternate locations it can use to ensure “continuity of operations,” Bell said. The company’s headquarters is on Park Avenue in midtown Manhattan.
More than 7,000 employees work in the Greenwich Street buildings, according to Danielle Romero-Apsilos, a Citigroup spokeswoman. Some of the bank’s most senior executives work at those offices, which are less than a mile from the Hudson River and currently inaccessible to staff. The bank, which plans to update employees on the status of the buildings later this week, said it will be ready for the resumption of trading today.
The offices at 388 Greenwich St. are used by securities and banking chief Jamie Forese, 49, who was traveling in Asia during the storm. The building is without power and sustained “minor flooding,” the company said. Raymond J. McGuire, 55, who runs the bank’s advisory business, and Francesco Vanni D’Archirafi, 52, head of the transaction-services business, also work there.
Citigroup’s trading and underwriting floors are next door at 390 Greenwich, which is running on generator power, the bank said. Tyler Dickson, 45, head of underwriting, is based there as are senior fixed-income and equities-trading executives including Carey Lathrop, Howard Marsh, 60, and Simon Yates, 41. Some of the lender’s top trading chiefs, such as Francisco ‘Paco’ Ybarra, 50, and Derek Bandeen, 49, are based in London.
“Our focus must be on taking care of our clients, our communities and each other,” Corbat wrote. “As difficult as the last few days have been, the next few are just as important and will surely present challenges.”
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