Banking & Capital Markets

Ex-CFO Crittenden Is Out at Citi

Four months after getting a high-profile promotion, he's packing for Utah.
David McCannJuly 9, 2009

Citigroup today announced that former CFO Gary Crittenden will be leaving the company, less than four months after he was promoted to the newly created role of chairman of Citi Holdings.

Likely looking for a longer tenure is Edward Kelly, who succeeded Crittenden as finance chief and is being promoted to vice chairman of Citigroup. In his new role he will take on broader responsibilities for strategy and M&A.

In a press release, the banking company said Crittenden “decided to leave Citi to relocate to Utah to devote more time to his family and other business interests.” Citigroup did not respond to a request for comment by press time.

The company’s third CFO in four months will be Jon Gerspach, following his promotion from controller and chief accounting officer.

Citi also announced that Eugene McQuade — whose former posts include vice chairman of Merrill Lynch, president of Freddie Mac, and president of Bank of America — is the new CEO of Citibank N.A.

In January, Citigroup was realigned into two major units, Citicorp and Citi Holdings. The latter oversees the conglomerate’s brokerage and retail asset-management business, which includes toxic assets like collateralized debt obligations and mortgage-backed securities.

As CFO, Crittenden had occupied a hot seat at the bank during the credit crisis. In July 2008 CFO.com reported that amid news that Citigroup posted a second-quarter loss of $2.2 billion, Crittenden noted in a conference call that the company “improved” its capital position by increasing reserves for loans, leases, and unfunded lending commitments by $22 billion. Those reserves would supposedly help the financial-services giant absorb elevated credit costs in loan portfolios that arise from delinquent mortgage and credit-card payments as well as those stemming from underperforming assets.

Crittenden assured analysts that the $22 billion reserve was not too heavy for the bank’s balance sheet, which had $2.1 trillion in assets, and noted that before the company started pulling back on its reserve buildup, he wanted to be sure its exposures to the subprime market were “topping out.”

Ultimately, of course, the government had to step in to bail out Citigroup. Then in January, on the heels of accepting federal aid, Citigroup said that Crittenden, Pandit, and board chairman Winfried Bischoff all declined to take incentive or retention awards.

Crittenden became Citi’s CFO in March 2007. Before that he was executive vice president, CFO, and head of Global Network Services at American Express from 2000 to 2007. Prior to that, he was CFO of Monsanto and Sears, Roebuck.