Citi 2.0: If she builds it, will they come?
Jane Fraser, chief executive of Citi since March 2021, has a mighty task on her hands. Like so many of her predecessors, she faces the puzzle of how to articulate an identity for a bank that always seems to be trying to do too much at once. So far, she has focused on redefining the scope of the firm and most recently on adapting its structure to fit that. The hardest part – fixing the bank’s woeful returns – is still to come.
Picture the scene. After years of crisis management and recovery following its near-fatal collapse under the weight of toxic assets, Citi announces an organizational and management overhaul. It is part of becoming a simpler, more focused and better managed bank and it follows strategic decisions to shed non-core assets.
The bank, we are told, will retain its international network – “the one true competitive advantage we have,” an insider tells Euromoney. But it will strive to make more from the links between the few businesses where it is a clear leader, such as global transaction services, foreign exchange and rates for its corporate customers that operate across multiple countries.
The geographic heads that once ran their own businesses as siloed entities, each spending heavily on their own systems and controls, will lose influence.