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The ex-Citi MD whose grandfather was a miner, and who's now selling his children's stories

Richard Evans spent 18 years working for Citigroup. In 2018, he was made managing director (MD). In 2024, he was fired. Evans left in April, a casualty of Jane Fraser's restructuring programme. 

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There are no hard feelings. "If I'd been my bosses, I would have let me go as well," says Evans, adding that his time at Citi was amazing but that ultimately he wanted things to go one way and his bosses wanted them to go another. "I ran the first syndication desk for trade and working capital at Citi," says Evans. "I built the team from four to 15 people and we built an electronic platform to digitalize the sales process. You become a bit synonymous with it and that's not always healthy."

Evans was global head of trade asset distribution for Citi, based out of London. His pragmatism about losing his job atop the business he built reflects a degree of perspective imbued by a very non-banking background. Evans grew up in the Welsh valleys. His father was a teacher; his grandad worked in the mines. "My grandfather was a miner from the age of 14," he says. "He was a super hard guy, but my grandmother told me that the first year he was in the mine, he would come back and cry every night. Some of the coals seams there are very long and narrow, and they used 14 years-olds because they were the only people who could fit."

In his late 40s with a family to support, Evans doesn't rule out a return to financial services, but he's in no rush to return. Trade finance is not his only passion. Evans also writes, and now that he has some spare time, he wants to see if his writing can make money too.  "I've written for as long as I can remember," says Evans. "I write very average poetry, but I also write kids stories, short stories and long rhyming stories. My kids have been very insistent that I should do something with one of my stories, whose chorus we sing together a lot."

Evans has self-published this rhyming story, Niki Naki Noo, and is now busy bringing his sales prowess to publicizing it. "I'm getting a full size furry mascot of the Nikki Naki Noo character made, and I have a friend who has volunteered to wear it," he says. They plan to take this "big hairy character" to book fairs, events libraries and to make him a feature on Tiktok: "When the dance craze comes on we will get him to do it," says Evans.

It's not the same as banking, but it's not entirely different either. Evans has been working with illustrator Alex Crump, who he says has been surprised by the rigour of his approach to getting the book out. "Alex makes fun of me, he says I am very structured in the way that I work," says Evans. This structure included creating 50 different designs for the Nikki Naki Noo character before settling on the final one. "I made it very clear that I am doing this because I love it, but also because I want to make it a business," says Evans. 

He appreciates that this won't be easy. "Realistically, I probably will get a full-time job," says Evans. "But my dream would be to make a success out of writing and publishing, although I have little background knowledge of the publishing industry." 

Evans might want to talk to Marcus Satha, another 20 year Citi veteran, who also left earlier this year. After a career in rates trading, Satha is now running a children's book charity aimed at making inclusive stories mainstream. Satha is focused on stories related to ethnic diversity, but Evans has an interesting socioeconomic perspective to sell. "Whenever I got on a crowded tube or had difficult targets to meet in banking, I'd think of my grandfather in the mine and realize that jeez, it wasn't so bad," he says. 

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AUTHORSarah Butcher Global Editor

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