Streamline options raised at EBRD

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JACQUES de Larosiere, the incoming president of the European Bank for Reconstruction and Development, has begun an examination of how to streamline some of the bank's operations, writes Peter Rodgers.

In a speech to staff on Monday, he made clear that there could be some areas of overlap across departments, and he did not specifically rule out the loss of jobs.

An EBRD official said the speech was open and frank and made clear that there were some obvious areas to be looked at, which could include the department in charge of political reports on the bank's client countries.

These may instead be done by specialist bank departments, which already carry out much of the work. The overlap has created confusion among some outsiders who deal with the bank.

Mr de Larosiere referred to duplication between the merchant and development banking departments. This could lead to rationalisation of project studies work in areas like telecommunications, agriculture and energy.

However, bank officials said Mr de Larosiere did not refer to any merger of the merchant banking and development departments, which was one possibility mooted during the rows over the future of the EBRD, leading up to the resignation of Jacques Attali, the controversial former president.

Mr de Larosiere made clear to staff that the bank had to get back on track and to be seen to be more efficient within the next few months. It was said by an official to have been well received.