Citigroup has chosen two executives - one internal and one external - to co-head its investment banking operations in Australia and New Zealand. The move comes six months after Alan James left the post.

David Hatt is being brought back from Japan where he is co-CEO of the joint venture Nikko Citigroup, while Chris Knoblanche has been poached from boutique advisory firm Caliburn Partnership.

The two will report to Stephen Roberts, CEO of corporate and investment banking in Australia and New Zealand and Mark Renton, head of investment banking for the Asia region.

Knoblanche is an interesting hire for the full-service firm given his boutique background. As a partner and managing director of Caliburn, he specialized in mergers and acquisitions, taking the boutique operation from strength to strength in recent years. Caliburn is now advising Telstra on the sale of its third and final tranche.

In announcing the appointments, Citigroup highlighted Knoblanche's Asian experience, much of it while he was working for the now defunct accounting group Andersen. Knoblanche was CEO and regional managing partner Australasia for Andersen and also area managing partner of business consulting for the Asia Pacific. Later at Deloittes he was managing director of Asia Pacific region management solutions.

"These appointments follow an exceptional six months, during which the investment banking business has doubled its revenues," says Roberts. "I am confident that their breadth of local and global knowledge and management leadership will take it to even higher levels and soon equal the strength of our fixed income and equities businesses."