Citigroup has hired Thomas Oh to be the managing director, co-head of investment banking and Co-CEO for its Global Markets Korea Securities division. He will share his CEO position with Phillip Ham who has been promoted from his position as head of equities for Korea.

Oh joins Citi from a financial advisory firm called Asia Pacific Investment Group, where he did a lot of work for the SK group ahead of its recent troubles. Prior to that he worked for 18 years at Goldman Sachs, rising to become the bank's branch manager in Seoul. Among the deals he worked on while at Goldman were the $4 billion sovereign bond deal in 1998 and the 2001 Kookmin/H&CB merger, two truly transformational deals for the country.

Citigroup has a dominant position in South Korea, winning FinanceAsia's Country Award for Best foreign bank in the country for 2002 (see FinanceAsia July 2003 passim). However, there are some weaknesses in the bank's securities franchise in the country. For instance, according to Bloomberg figures, Citi was not in the top 15 of equity underwriters in Korea in 2002, although it is a top five foreign house when it comes to domestic and international bond deals.

It was, however, the number one M&A adviser in the country last year advising on six deals with a market value of $4.2 billion. These include General Motor's long awaited acquisition of Daewoo Motors and Hyundai Merchant Marine's sale of its car carrier division to Wilhelmsen and Wallenius.

"I'm proud to have two most capable senior executives on board our Citigroup Korea operations," says Sajjad Razvi, Chief Country Officer for Citigroup Korea, talking about the new hires. "I am confident that Thomas Oh's broad investment banking expertise coupled with Phillip Ham's vast equity know how will help Citigroup to provide the best possible services to our relationships."