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Citadel Hires Ex-Goldman Trading Head to Run Credit

Katia Porzecanski and Sridhar Natarajan

(Bloomberg) -- Ken Griffin’s Citadel hired Pablo Salame, one of Wall Street’s most prominent trading executives, to lead the credit business at the $32 billion firm.

Salame, who helped run Goldman Sachs Group Inc.’s massive trading division for a decade before leaving last year, will fill a role that’s been vacant for almost seven months after Eric Felder departed. Griffin has been overseeing the credit business since then.

Salame, 53, will start at the Chicago-based firm later this month, according to firm spokesman Zia Ahmed. He will oversee developed and emerging market strategies as well as convertible bond arbitrage activities from New York.

Griffin is adding a powerhouse trader after recently making a series of personnel and business changes. The performance of the firm’s flagship multi-strategy fund, which the credit business feeds into, is beating peers. It has gained 14.2% this year through August.

Salame left Goldman in mid-2018 as the ascension of incoming chief executive, David Solomon, sparked the most significant management overhaul at the firm in a generation. He was at various times considered for senior bank-wide management roles, people familiar with the matter have said.

Poached by Blankfein

Salame is a graduate of Brown University who started with Citigroup Inc. in Ecuador before moving to New York with the bank. Former Goldman chief Lloyd Blankfein was among the executives who poached Salame from Citigroup in 1996 as an emerging markets trader. He was one of the trading heads when Goldman recorded its most lucrative year for its trading desk, pulling in about $33 billion in revenue in 2009.

Earlier this year, Citadel shut Aptigon, one of its equity units, with Felder’s departure. Several of its managers were moved to the firm’s three other stock groups. Other changes have included the departure of Colin Lancaster, the head of macro strategies. His group was merged into the fixed-income business.

Founded by Griffin, a billionaire, Citadel counts on small teams of traders to manage money independently from one another across its businesses: the three remaining equity units plus fixed-income, quantitative, credit and commodities groups.

Salame, an Ecuadorian, was once a budding tennis player who played against Boris Becker at the junior Orange Bowl in 1982 and was in the draw alongside Becker at the French Open juniors the next year.

Toward the end of his tenure at Goldman, his catchy mandate to Goldman traders to “just add butter” as a way to be more responsive to clients took on a life of its own around Wall Street. At Goldman, they endorsed the idea by emblazoning that message on hats.

(Adds additional biographical detail on Salame starting in fifth paragraph.)

To contact the reporters on this story: Katia Porzecanski in New York at kporzecansk1@bloomberg.net;Sridhar Natarajan in New York at snatarajan15@bloomberg.net

To contact the editors responsible for this story: Alan Mirabella at amirabella@bloomberg.net, Michael J. Moore, Dan Reichl

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