Global
financial services giant Citigroup, which is struggling to keep
costs under control, has poached Gary Crittenden, CFO at American
Express (Amex), to become its new CFO. Crittenden fills an internal
vacancy at Citi caused by a management restructuring which saw
previous CFO Sallie Krawcheck moving to become Citi’s head of
global wealth management. Citi said that Crittenden will join the
group on 12 March, and will report to Charles (Chuck) Prince,
chairman and CEO of Citi.

Crittenden joined Amex in June 2000 as executive vice-president and
CFO. In this role, he served as a key adviser on strategic and
financial matters worldwide, and represented Amex to investors,
lenders and rating agencies. In June 2005, Crittenden gained
responsibility for Global Network Services, the business unit that
builds and maintains partnerships with banks and other financial
institutions that issue Amex-branded cards on its global
network.

Together with Kenneth Chenault, Amex’s chairman and CEO, Crittenden
has overseen a trend of rising profits, rising share prices and
increasing numbers of cards in force at Amex. In the US, Amex has
the highest cash and purchase volume on general-purpose credit
cards, ahead of rivals JPMorgan Chase, Bank of America and Citi –
the latter is the largest banking group in the US.

Citi’s profit growth lags

The appointment of Crittenden is the latest in a series of
management changes at
Citi
, which is under pressure to improve performance.

In recent quarters, Citi’s profit growth has lagged behind that of
its competitors, while rising operating costs have dented profits.
It failed to meet its revenue targets in 2006 and operating
expenses grew by 15.2 percent. Citi recently announced that it
would be cutting investment in an effort to bolster the company’s
falling stock price.

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By GlobalData

Prince said: “Gary has demonstrated an exceptional ability to help
the organisations he has worked for to generate superior value by
supporting the successful execution of their business strategies
with the development and implementation of sophisticated financial
strategies.

“He has distinguished himself as one of the leading chief financial
officers in business today, most recently through his tremendous
contributions to American Express’s consistent performance. Gary’s
proven record and expertise in strategic financial management,
together with his substantial experience in the consumer business,
will accelerate our growth across the franchise. We are delighted
that he has chosen to join Citi.”

Crittenden said: “With global scale, scope, and a superb brand,
Citi is a unique global enterprise. This may very well be the best
place to serve as CFO. Participating in the continued growth of
this great company was an opportunity I felt I simply could not
miss, and I could not be more pleased to join the entire Citi team
at this exciting time in its long and storied history.

“Chuck has defined what I personally believe is a compelling path
to drive higher levels of performance and value creation, and I
look forward to working with the team here to identify productive
opportunities for investing in the business while enhancing our
financial disciplines and strategies. The priorities and sense of
urgency are clear. I can’t wait to get started.”