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Citi Elevates CFO Crittenden

Gary Crittenden takes the reins at Citi's brokerage and consumer finance units, and will oversee the management of assets linked to the government ...
Stephen TaubMarch 20, 2009

Citigroup has named chief financial officer Gary Crittenden to the newly created role of chairman of Citi Holdings. In addition, Edward “Ned” Kelly, previously the head of Citi’s global banking unit, will assume the role of chief financial officer.

Crittenden will work with Mike Corbat, the interim CEO of Citi Holdings, “to optimize the value of the businesses in this unit,” according to the banking giant’s announcement. “As CFO, Gary successfully managed Citi’s re-engineering efforts and reduced expenses during a challenging environment,” said Citi CEO Vikram Pandit. “He is a proven leader with a steady hand and a keen understanding of the complex assets within Citi Holdings. I’m confident Gary will guide and accelerate our efforts to realize the value of Citi Holdings for our shareholders.”

On January 16, Citi was realigned into two major units, Citicorp and Citi Holdings. Citi Holdings represents a significant portion of the bank’s assets, including the conglomerate’s brokerage and retail asset-management activities, the local consumer-finance operation, and a special asset pool comprising the holdings covered by the loss-sharing agreement with the U.S. government in the bank’s ring-fenced portfolio, as well as other nonstrategic assets.

Citicorp is expected to be the high-growth, high-return business that includes the company’s global institutional bank — international transaction services, corporate and investment banking, private banking, retail banking, branded card business, and regional consumer and commercial banking franchises. The company said Citicorp holds assets worth $1.1 trillion and will be approximately 65 percent deposit funded.

Crittenden has not been immune to problems — and criticism — associated with the current credit crisis. In July CFO.com reported that amid the 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 other 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.”

Since that conference call, 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 has been CFO since March 2007. As such, he was responsible for the financial management of the company in addition to strategy, mergers, productivity, and reengineering. He is also a member of Citi’s senior leadership and executive committees.

Before joining Citi, Crittenden 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.

Kelly, Citi’s newly appointed finance chief, brings a good deal of operational experience to the CFO role. Along with holding the top spot at Citi’s global banking unit, he also headed up Citi Alternative Investments in the bank’s institutional clients group, as well as Citi Private Banking. Like Crittenden, Kelly is a member of Citi’s senior leadership and executive committees.

Prior to joining the alternative investment unit in February 2008, Kelly was a managing director at The Carlyle Group, a private investment firm. Before that, he was a vice chairman at The PNC Financial Services Group following PNC’s acquisition of Mercantile Bankshares in March 2007, after holding the chairman and CEO position at Mercantile.

 

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