NEW YORK: Citigroup said on 25 February it had named former American Express executive Gary Crittenden as its CFO, the latest in a series of management reshuffles geared to improve performance at a bank whose earnings growth has been lagging.
Crittenden, 53, helped engineer American Express’ turnaround after the 2001 attacks on the World Trade Center and the Pentagon cut into travel spending, hurting one of American Express’ main businesses.
Crittenden’s experience in consumer financial businesses made him attractive to Citi, which generated more than half of its 2006 revenue globally from that area, Citi Chief Executive Chuck Prince told Reuters.
”We’ve been very focused on turning around the US consumer business for the last several years,” Prince said.
Citigroup, the largest banking group in the United States, is as a whole ready for turnaround after more than three years of sluggish revenue growth and a 2006 in which operating expenses jumped 15%.
Investors - most notably Citigroup’s largest shareholder, Saudi Arabia’s Prince Alwaleed - have pressured the banking group to cut costs. Citi named corporate and investment banking head Robert Druskin as chief operating officer in December, and said his first job was to cut costs.
Crittenden helped cut costs at American Express as the company laid off thousands of workers, and was chief financial officer as the company spun off its Ameriprise brokerage unit.
In the wake of these moves, American Express is one of the best performing companies in the financial sector, as measured by its return on equity.
Crittenden started his career at consulting firm Bain & Co., where he gained a reputation for his skill at cutting costs and improving operating cash flow without destroying a company, said David Checketts, who used to work with Crittenden at Bain and remains friends with him.
”Companies were clamoring to work with him,” Checketts said.
Citigroup said in January it was looking for a CFO to replace Sallie Krawcheck, who was returning to her previous spot as head of wealth management.
Crittenden will report to Citigroup Chief Executive Officer Charles Prince, effective March 12.
American Express said that Dan Henry, chief financial officer of US Consumer, Small Business, and Merchant Services, would be acting chief financial officer of the company.