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BANKING

Citi plots next stage of development in Asia

Citi’s Asia-Pacific business is the ultimate test of its universal banking model. New regional CEO Francisco Aristeguieta knows he needs to build on its strong component parts, not just to maintain its position in Asia, but to push the bank forward globally.

Francisco Aristeguieta illustration-350

Francisco Aristeguieta, Citi

Talk about hitting the ground running. Just four months after taking over as Citi’s CEO for Asia Pacific, Francisco Aristeguieta had to present his vision and strategy for the group’s regional ambitions to the board at meetings in Beijing and Hong Kong last October.

This was no easy task. First, Aristeguieta, a Venezuelan national, was not just new to the job, he was also new to the region, having spent most of his career with Citi in Latin America. Second, he had taken over his new role from rising star Stephen Bird, who relocated to New York to run Citi’s global consumer banking business. Under Bird’s leadership the bank had delivered steady and growing profits in Asia Pacific while the group was recovering from its near-death experience during the financial crisis.

Aristeguieta is Citi through and through. He started with the bank 22 years ago as a relationship manager. His easy charm is a clear reflection of that background. Much of his time was spent in Citi’s powerful global transaction services business, before he became CEO of Citi’s Latin American businesses, overseeing a three-year repositioning that included shutting consumer businesses in six countries in October 2014.