Citigroup is planning to recruit the CEO of JPMorgan’s investment banking unit in Saudi Arabia to head up its own investment banking unit in the country, as the competition for banking professionals in the region’s largest economy intensifies.

Fahad Al-Deweesh is going to replace Wassim Al-Khatib, who left his position earlier this year to become the head of Lazard Ltd.’s advisory business in the Middle East and North Africa.

According to Bloomberg BNN, the announcement of Al-Deweesh’s appointment is expected in the coming weeks, pending regulatory approval.

Al-Deweesh, has recently served as the esteemed CEO and head of investment banking for JPMorgan’s securities unit in Saudi Arabia.

His work was conducted under the guidance of Bader Alamoudi, a senior country officer and general manager for the esteemed US lender’s banking branch in the kingdom.

A spokesperson from Citigroup declined to give a statement.

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By GlobalData

Global banks are focusing on Saudi Arabia as the country seeks to reduce its reliance on oil by selling shares in state-owned firms and investing in new industries.

Despite job cuts and lower bonuses in the financial industry worldwide, there are still many job opportunities with high salaries in Saudi Arabia.

Moelis & Co., Citigroup, and Goldman Sachs. are among the firms seeking to increase their presence in the country to take advantage of the surge in dealmaking.

The Public Investment Fund is hiring rapidly from banks like HSBC and Goldman Sachs to support the crown prince’s efforts to reform the economy.

Many expats are hesitant to move to Riyadh due to strict regulations and a potentially dull lifestyle, resulting in a shortage of experienced local employees.

To address this, some international banks are training junior staff with the intention of building relationships within the kingdom if they later transition to a state entity.