Citigroup's restructuring drive continues with key executive departure

Citigroup is set to lose a driving force behind its major restructuring efforts, as Titi Cole, the top executive overseeing the implementation of the bank's sweeping reorganisation plan, has announced her departure.

An internal memo seen by Reuters revealed Cole's impending exit on Tuesday.

As the head of legacy franchises at Citigroup, Cole played a pivotal role in executing the third-largest US lender's strategy to streamline its operations by divesting consumer banking businesses in nine non-core markets.

Her leadership was instrumental in completing the sales of these non-essential divisions, aligning with Citigroup's broader goal of simplifying its structure and boosting performance, the memo said.

The restructuring initiative, spearheaded by chief exec Jane Fraser since September 2022, has been well-received by investors, contributing to a surge in Citigroup's share price. Fraser's bold overhaul aims to shed legacy businesses in various international markets, with plans to offload the bank's Mexico consumer banking unit, Banamex, through an initial public offering scheduled for 2025.

Cole, a 30-year veteran at Citigroup, is set to exit the financial sector and become an executive director at a non-profit organisation focused on women's healthcare. Her departure comes alongside another significant leadership change, with Mike Whitaker, the head of the bank's operations and technology team, also leaving after a 16-year tenure.

In a bid to bolster its technological capabilities, Citigroup has appointed Tim Ryan, the former senior partner and US franchise leader at PwC, as the new head of technology and business enablement. Ryan will assume a dual role, joining the lender's executive management team while spearheading its technological advancements.

As Citigroup navigates through its transformative restructuring process, the departure of key executives like Cole and Whitaker underscores the shifting nature of the bank's leadership landscape, with the appointment of Ryan signalling a tech-forward approach to banking.

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