Opening in Ireland 51 years ago, perhaps no other company best exemplifies the Irish-American relationship than Citigroup. In post-Brexit Europe, Citgroup now sees a clear advantage, explains Chief Executive of Citibank Europe, Zdenek Turek.
What role does Ireland play in Citigroup’s EU business?
Ireland recently became Citigroup’s headquarters for our pan-European operations. Today, our Dublin-based entity, Citibank Europe, altogether operates across 21 European countries and employs 9,000 people, including 2,500 here in Ireland. We also house some of the largest global products in the transactional banking area here, and have an innovation center that was built about 10 years ago.
What does Brexit mean for Citibank Europe?
Brexit, for the record, we are not happy with. Yet, this very entity that we built here in Ireland now has a huge competitive advantage because we have just become classified as a systemically important financial institution (SIFI), which means we are now supervised by the European Central Bank.
Why are you confident in Ireland’s stability?
We believe that Ireland is in a good spot today because of its infrastructure capabilities and capacity, as well as due to an anticipated boost that is likely to come from some businesses moving to Ireland because of Brexit. Ireland is known for its tax advantages, where the corporate tax is low—but I think that the situation is changing. Now, Ireland will be the only EU country with English as a major language and Common Law as a legal system. This is very conducive to business.
How do your clients reflect Ireland’s future?
The most successful of our Irish corporate clients are becoming international, or at least regional. Indeed, our client’s choice to globalize is a trend across Western Europe. For sustained growth, you cannot be restricted to the borders of Ireland. Personally, I see a good future for Ireland and certainly more investors to come.