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Edward Greene likes change. And at an age when many lawyers ponder retirement, the London-based Cleary, Gottlieb, Steen & Hamilton partner is shaking things up for what he expects to be one last time. In May, Greene moved to New York to become the general counsel of Citigroup’s global corporate and investment banking group. Greene, 62, began his career in the New York office of Willkie Farr & Gallagher. He made partner but left the firm in 1978 to join the Securities and Exchange Commission. Greene was the director of the SEC’s corporate finance division and then became the agency’s GC. He returned to law firm life in 1983, joining Cleary’s Washington, D.C., office. In 1987 Greene and his family moved to Tokyo, where, he says, he was the first American lawyer licensed to practice by the Japanese. At that time, the presence of American lawyers in Japan was very controversial. “When we landed in Japan, a local news station filmed us as we came off the plane,” he says. “No one recognized me, but they couldn’t believe that I was just a lawyer. Some people were convinced that I was in the intelligence community.” Greene says that Japanese lawyers also worried that American lawyers’ litigious style would clash with Japan’s nonconfrontational culture. Three years later Greene moved again, this time to Cleary’s nine-lawyer London outpost. He expected the move to be a temporary one, but “two years became 14.” He and his family got U.K. passports, and his children enrolled in the American School in London. The job offer from Citigroup, a longtime Cleary client, came as a surprise. Greene and his wife were walking in the Cotswolds, he says, when he got a call from Michael Helfer, Citigroup’s GC. Richard Ketchum, the departing GC of Citigroup’s global corporate and investment bank division, had urged Helfer to call Greene. Ketchum, who had just been named chief regulatory officer of the New York Stock Exchange, had known Greene at the SEC. Greene’s happiness in Japan and England influenced his decision to accept the Citigroup job. “Change has always been exhilarating,” he says. “And I thought that this could be a great place to end my career.” Although Greene will work out of Citigroup’s New York headquarters, he’s keeping his house in London-for when he finally gets around to pondering retirement.

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