Barclays EMEA banking chairman leaves lender

Makram Azar, chairman for Barclays Plc’s Europe, Middle East and Africa banking operations, retired from his role at the British lender, according to a memo to obtained by Bloomberg News.

Azar, who also headed the bank’s Middle East’s operations, will return as a senior adviser in January 2019, according to the memo issued by Joe McGrath, global head of banking. He is leaving the bank to pursue new business opportunities and spend more time with his family, the memo said. The contents of the memo were confirmed by a spokesman.

During Azar’s stint, Barclays has done some key deals in the Middle East, including advising on the acquisition by Qatar Investment Authority and Brookfield Property Partners LP of London’s Canary Wharf Group Plc and Borse Dubai’s sale of its $2.1 billion stake in the London Stock Exchange Group Plc. It was also one of the banks that helped arrange $12 billion bond sale by Qatar this year.

Barclays hired Azar as head of its investment banking business in the Middle East and North Africa 2010. He was appointed chairman of all of the bank’s businesses in Middle East and North Africa in 2014, and a year later was given an additional role as chairman of EMEA Banking. Azar joined the bank from KKR & Co. and previously worked with Lehman Brothers Holding Inc.

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