Adams leaves Citigroup to head ABN Amro legal

Citigroup is losing its highly-rated head of legal to ABN Amro Bank NV.

Laurie Adams, who has been with the bank for 11 years and oversaw 160 staff, will join ABN Amro on 1 November as the head of legal for its wholesale banking unit.

Dutch bank ABN Amro has been searching since the beginning of the year to find a head of legal in London after its City office reorganised its legal function, which was previously split into five units under one umbrella (The Lawyer, 31 January).

However, Ava Simon Thomas, head of group legal at ABN Amro’s Amsterdam office, says there were delays due to the company-wide reorganisation.

The bank is now being split into three areas, including consumer and commercial clients, asset management and private banking, and the section that Adams will head, wholesale banking.

Simon Thomas says: “I think there was not enough focus to fill the position, because we didn’t know what the job definition was until we had the strategic review.”

Concerning his move, Adams says: “I’ve done 11 years here, and what attracted me to ABN was the global position. After 11 years it was time for me to take on a new challenge, but I’ve left behind a strong team.”

A replacement has not yet been found for Adams, but he says that Diana Hill, deputy general counsel for international, is coming over from Citigroup’s New York office for a number of weeks, during which internal candidates are expected to apply for the role.

Simon Thomas says that she does not anticipate that ABN Amro’s line-up of external firms will change once Adams joins.

The main firms the bank uses include Clifford Chance, Slaughter and May, Allen & Overy, Simmons & Simmons and Norton Rose.

ABN Amro’s London office houses 15 lawyers. Recently, it took on Sanjeev Joshi, former head of securitised products and equity from Deutsche Bank.

During his time at Citibank, Adams has seen the legal department through two mergers, the most recent of which was the bank’s £1.35bn takeover of Schroders’ investment arm in January this year.

Citigroup declined to comment.