Citigroup Inc. is planning to add employees to its European business as it rebuilds after a string of departures.

"Growth is a top priority at Citigroup," spokesman Jeff French said Monday in a telephone interview in London. "We have reduced our overall expense base dramatically in recent years while refocusing the company, and we are now ramping up investment in our core businesses, including markets and banking."

Citi is adding senior bankers in Europe, hiring at least 15 managing directors this year. Pantelis Lekkas has joined to run corporate and investment banking operations in Greece and Cyprus from Bank of America Corp. and Gilles Graham was hired from Nomura Holdings Inc. to advise clients in the financial services Industry.

The hiring follows the departures this year from Citi of at least 12 European managing directors who left the last partially U.S. government-owned securities firm to join competitors such as B of A and Barclays PLC's investment banking unit.

Citi is looking to add employees worldwide. It plans to almost triple its work force in China to as many as 12,000 people in the next three years, Stephen Bird, its co-chief executive of the Asia-Pacific region, said in an interview on Aug. 31.

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