- The Washington Times - Friday, March 20, 2009

NEW YORK (AP) - Citigroup’s chief financial officer, Gary Crittenden, is leaving his post and becoming chairman of Citi Holdings, the unit created to sell off the bank’s riskier assets.

A person familiar with the decision said Crittenden decided to change jobs due to an illness in his family. The person spoke on condition of anonymity because of the sensitivity of the matter.

The chairman role created for Crittenden will be a part-time responsibility overseeing the long-term strategy of Citi Holdings, the person said. Citi Holdings has an interim chief executive, Mike Corbat, who is in charge of day-to-day responsibilities.

Edward “Ned” Kelly, former head of global banking for Citi Private Bank, will succeed Crittenden as the bank’s CFO.

The management shift is the latest in a personnel reshuffling at the bank, which is struggling to return to profitability.

Citigroup, whose stock price dropped below $1 earlier this month, has received significant financial support from the goverment. Last month the bank agreed that the government could acquire up to a 36 percent stake in the company as it contends with mounting losses tied to risky investments in the housing market.

Several senior executives have departed the New York-based company over the past year and a half. Earlier this week, it nominated four new independent directors in an effort to add more financial expertise to its board.

As a result, Citigroup’s old guard is mostly gone. CEO Charles “Chuck” Prince was ousted in December 2007; Sallie Krawcheck, Crittenden’s predecessor as CFO and then Citigroup’s head of global wealth management, left in 2008; and Robert Rubin, the former U.S. Treasury Secretary who joined Citigroup’s board, departed earlier this year.

Crittenden arrived at Citigroup in March 2007, just months before the subprime mortgage meltdown started to slam investment banks. Crittenden is widely viewed by investors as a strong member of Citigroup’s management team. Jeffrey Harte, an analyst at Sandler O’Neill, said it wouldn’t make sense for Citigroup to move Crittenden out of the CFO role unless it was Crittenden’s decision.

Citigroup’s chief executive Vikram Pandit, who took the helm in December 2007, said in January that the company would split into two parts _ Citi Holdings and Citicorp _ after suffering its fifth straight quarterly loss. That month the bank named Corbat, previously head of the global wealth management division, as interim chief executive of Citi Holdings.

Citi Holdings runs the company’s local consumer finance businesses, its brokerage and asset management segments, and the pool of assets the government agreed to backstop losses on. Citicorp focuses on traditional banking.

Kelly was also president and CEO of Citi Alternative Investments for Citi’s institutional clients group and is a member of Citi’s senior leadership and executive committees.

Before coming to Citigroup, Kelly was a managing director at private investment firm The Carlyle Group, and CEO of Mercantile Bankshares Corp., which got bought by PNC Financial Services Group. He has a legal background, serving as a partner at the law firm Davis Polk & Wardwell earlier in his career.

Citi shares rose 2 cents to $2.62 in Friday trading.

Kelly “definitely inspires confidence in me,” said Anton Schutz, president of Mendon Capital Advisors, which owns Citigroup shares. Schutz has not yet bought new shares, but said one reason he has stuck with Citigroup has been CEO Pandit’s management team, particularly Kelly.


AP Business Writer Michelle Chapman contributed to this report.

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