Citi loses energy head to expanding private equity firm

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A senior energy investment banker at Citigroup, Ekaterina Zotova, has left after two years to take a role at an expanding private equity company backed by Russian oligarch Mikhail Fridman’s Alfa Group.

Zotova joined Pamplona Capital Management’s global energy fund earlier this month as a principal. The L1 Energy fund was launched last year and will use the funds from the sale of Alfa Group’s stake in oil venture TNK-BP to invest in oil and gas projects. Fridman and his partners netted $7bn each in a $55bn deal when the company was sold to Russian government-owned energy group Rosneft.

She joined Citigroup in January 2012 as head of international acquisitions and divestments for the bank’s oil and gas division, with a mandate to expand the team within its energy investment banking division. Zotova worked on the $15.1bn acquisition of Canadian oil and gas firm Nexan Group by Chinese state-owned entity CNOOC last year.

Pamplona has been building its energy team since launching the new fund. In September, it hired Joao Saraiva e Silva from Carlyle Group less than four months after he joined the firm to lead a new energy team, according to Financial News.

Zotova has spent much of her career working for Shell, a company she joined in a finance function in 1997. She eventually rose to CFO for its wind energy division, before switching into investment banking in an associate role at Lehman Brothers in 2004. She then moved back to Shell in an M&A position in 2005 and had been promoted to head of portfolio management for its upstream business in 2010.

She has an MBA with a corporate finance focus from Columbia Business School, gained in 2005.

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