Naguib Kheraj leaves Lazard

HIGH-flying banker Naguib Kheraj yesterday walked away from his chief executive role at Lazard after just six weeks in the post.

Kheraj, a former JPMorgan Cazenove chief executive and Barclays finance director, resigned as chief executive of Lazard International to focus on philanthropic work.

His departure surprised many in the City as much as his appointment last October into a post effectively created for him in the global deals wing of the investment bank.

His appointment was seen as a significant coup for Lazard.

Both Kheraj and Lazard said the decision was amicable. Kheraj said: “I am very sad to be leaving Lazard, and have not taken this decision lightly.”

“I underestimated the difficulty of managing my external activities in a way that would enable me to be properly engaged in an executive role and have realised that it is not possible to fulfil my responsibilities to Lazard to the best of my ability whilst maintaining my personal commitments.”

A Lazard spokesman said: “He was a friend of the firm before he joined and will continue to be a friend. We wish him well.”

But former colleagues told City A.M. his appointment may have been unwelcome within Lazard and he may have expected a warmer welcome due to his close links with Barclays, a major client of Lazard’s.

“Naguib is a protégé of Bob Diamond at Barclays, and his appointment may have been a favour to the bank,” one said. “That may have put noses out of joint.”

Kheraj, who stepped down from Cazenove last March, is now likely to be among candidates for top City posts that arise in the future.