Simon Penney, the former CEO of Royal Bank of Scotland’s Middle East and Africa operation, is set to make reappearance at UAE institution First Gulf Bank (FGB).
Penney will take the role of head of wholesale banking at FGB, based in Abu Dhabi, in July, according to sources close to the situation. He resigned from RBS in March after 13 years at the bank and is set to be replaced by James Miller, who is relocating from London.
Penney is a career investment banker, and RBS’s decision to focus purely on debt and trade finance in the Middle East after deciding to exit M&A and equities globally last year does not play to his strengths.
FGB, Abu Dhabi’s second largest bank, is attempting forays out of its home market for the first time and plans to open in Singapore and Hong Kong. Last year, it embarked on an aggressive recruitment spree.
Penney’s move is indicative of an increasing number of investment bankers gravitating from international firms to local players. This month Michael Katounas left his role at Credit Suisse to head up investment banking at Qatari bank QInvest, following on from Tamim Al-Kawari’s move from Goldman Sachs last year. Khalid al Subeai also left Morgan Stanley to join The First Investor.
FGB didn’t respond to requests for comment.