April 10, 2012 / 5:44 PM / 7 years ago

Top Goldman Sachs dealmaker Zaoui to retire

LONDON (Reuters) - Veteran Goldman Sachs (GS.N) dealmaker Yoel Zaoui is set to retire, the latest in a series of high profile departures from investment banks shaking up top management in the wake of the financial crisis.

Zaoui, a Moroccon-born Frenchman, had been with the company for 24 years and would now become senior director - an honorary title - according to an internal memo obtained by Reuters. The bank confirmed the contents of the memo.

Taught at one of France’s elite business schools, Zaoui moved to London in 1989 and had been “one of the pioneers” of Goldman Sachs’s European operations, the bank said, securing a long list of key deals for the firm.

One of his best-known deals was advising Mittal Steel in its hostile takeover of rival Arcelor in 2006, a deal that pitched him against his brother Michael, who had a similar role at Morgan Stanley, and was advising Arcelor.

Goldman has seen several high-profile departures this year, both from its advisory unit and from its lucrative trading division. These included David Heller and Edward Eisler, co-heads of the firm’s securities business.

In Europe, another senior mergers and acquisitions (M&A) banker, Luca Ferrari, also retired.

The departures come amid a shake-up in the senior ranks at banks across Europe, including Switzerland’s UBS UBSN.VX and Credit Suisse CSGN.VX and France’s Societe Generale (SOGN.PA).

Andrea Orcel, one of Bank of America Merrill Lynch’s (BAC.N) top dealmakers, and one of the architects of the three-way split-up of Dutch bank ABN AMRO in 2007, recently jumped ship to UBS, where he will help run the investment bank.

And “mining king” Ian Hannam, one of London’s most prolific dealmakers, last week left JPMorgan (JPM.N) to fight a 450,000 pound ($712,700) fine levied against him for passing on sensitive information to the Kurdish oil minister.

Zaoui had decided to leave the firm after “24 years of outstanding service”, according to the memo from Chief Executive Lloyd Blankfein and Chief Operating Officer Gary Cohn.

He shared the role of co-head of global M&A with Gene Sykes, and was involved in deals such as the 2004 hostile takeover of Aventis by Sanofi, and in the merger between French oil giants TotalFina and Elf Aquitaine in 1999.

Banks have been grappling with stricter regulations on regulatory capital, which is dampening revenues in their trading businesses, while rising costs lead to lay-offs, lower pay packages, and other cost reductions.

Firms are also are revamping their strategies as a result and reshuffling management, prompting many senior dealmakers to leave the industry, or take time out. Goldman has been among the firms cutting staff recently.

Goldman slipped behind U.S. rivals such Citi (C.N) in the first quarter of this year, as its share of worldwide investment banking fees fell in a weak three months for M&A and stock market listings.

Editing by Helen Massy-Beresford

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