former Asia Pacific CEO for Lehman Brothers will step down from his chairman role at Nomura Holdings, according to a memo obtained by Reuters on Tuesday, potentially dealing a blow to morale among ex-Lehman staff now at the Japanese brokerage.
Jasjit Bhattal was the only ex-Lehman member on Nomura's 14-seat management group for the global wholesale, or investment banking, business. He was also the only ex-Lehman person on the Asia executive management committee, and one of two ex-Lehmanites appointed as a senior managing director.
Nomura bought Lehman's Asia franchise late last year.
A Nomura spokesman was not immediately available for comment. The memo says he will leave the post at the end of the year and stay on as a senior adviser, but does not specify the exact nature of the advisory role.
While the Japanese bank has seen some success from Lehman's purchase, the deal has also given the bank some headaches. The financial markets plunged further after the deal, adding tension to an already difficult merger between two very different banks.
Lehman bankers, used to heavy risk taking at the New York based brokerage, were frustrated with Nomura's conservative, bureaucratic operating environment. Nomura bankers, meanwhile, were wary of Lehman's high risk, highly paid staff.
Despite some being thankful for Nomura's rescue of the Lehman franchise after the bank collapsed last fall, a steady stream of legacy Lehman bankers left Nomura earlier this year. Some were also laid off amid the financial crisis.
A Nomura source could not confirm Bhattal's departure, but told Reuters that he expected more ex-Lehman bankers to leave come Sept. 1, when their full bonus payouts come due. The source was not authorised to speak publicly about the matter.
To keep Lehman bankers from leaving, Nomura offered many of them one to two year guarantees that they'd be paid their full 2007, bull market compensation. Seventy percent of that first year bonus was paid in April, with the rest coming on Sept. 1.
The guarantees did help secure Lehman bankers, but came at a large financial cost to Nomura.
Nomura bought Lehman's Europe and Middle Eastern divisions last year as well, just after the bank collapsed.
Among his many notable achievements, he will also be long remembered as one of the key architects in the creation of the new Nomura, said Takumi Shibata, deputy president and COO of Nomura. Shibata, a veteran Nomura banker, was the key architect of the Lehman purchase.
(Reporting by Michael Flaherty; editing by Simon Jessop and Rupert Winchester)