Citibank has a new Singapore CEO. Here’s how to impress him

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Citibank has a new Singapore CEO. Here’s how to impress him

If you work for Citi in Singapore or if you want to get a job at Citi, you’ll want to know about the bank’s plans for the future and how they might affect your career. The firm's strategy in Singapore is now partly in the hands of a new chief executive officer for Citibank (its consumer unit), Brendan Carney, who’s been transfered to Singapore from Korea, where he was head of consumer banking.

Carney has only just been appointed (he replaces previous CEO Han Kwee Juan, who moved to DBS in February), so it’s too early for him to have made any major announcements. But Carney’s previous resume at Citi, where he’s worked since 2002, provides some hints about his business (and recruitment) priorities. Here’s what you need to know.

Carney is likely to hire more tech and digital staff

It appears that Carney has been appointed partly because of his track record in digital banking. In Korea, he “transformed Citi's third largest consumer banking franchise” by increasing digital usage by 50% and launching a new mobile banking platform, according to his LinkedIn profile. Gonzalo Luchetti, Carney’s boss and head of consumer banking for Asia Pacific and EMEA, said in a statement that Carney will “build on the momentum” of Citi’s digital transformation in Singapore, and “establish a strong talent base”. Expect more technology jobs to open up as Citi seeks developers to build Carney’s new digital products.

But he could review costs

Carney’s CV shows that he’s not all about headcount expansion. He cut Citi’s Korean branch network from 126 to 36 to help return the business to revenue growth, according to his online profile. In the process he “redeployed one third of 2,500 team members to new roles”, suggesting that about 1,650 jobs were lost. Likewise, during his tenure as consumer banking head for Poland (2012 to 2015), his “successful business transformation” included reducing headcount by 38%, and streamlining the branch network by 70%. While Citi may not be as bloated in a small city state as it was in large countries like Korea and Poland, it’s stil likely that Carney will be reviewing his Singapore cost base.

His power lies in consumer

Alongside being the Singapore CEO, Carney has also been named Asean cluster head of the firm’s global consumer banking (GCB) division. A consumer banker since he joined the firm in 2002, his appointment is likely to be welcomed more in GCB than it is in the Institutional Clients Group (ICG), home to Citi’s investment bankers and corporate bankers.

Carney is keen on international mobility

Carney is a product of Citi’s policy of shunting its top executives around the world every few years (otherwise known as ‘internal mobility’). As well as his stints in Korea and Poland, he was Portugal country business manager (2002 to 2010) and Belgium Consumer CEO (2010 to 2012). Carney’s new remit includes consumer banking across Citi’s other Asean markets: Indonesia, Malaysia, the Philippines, Thailand and Vietnam. If you’re based at Citi in Singapore and want a stint elsewhere in the region, your new CEO is likely to be supportive. Likewise, Carney may want to fill some senior Sinagpore jobs with internal transfers.

Carney might hire from outside the banking sector

Perhaps you work for a tech firm, but want to land a tech job at a bank? As Carney expands Citi’s digital platform, he may well be open to candidates from outside the finance sector. That’s because Carney himself made a big career change when he first moved to Citi. Carney, who has a BA in economics from the University of Michigan and an MBA from Wharton, started his career in 1992 as a consultant at healthcare research firm Lewin Group in Washington DC. He then worked for two US-based healthcare startups (including a tech one, Medsite) and didn’t join Citi until 2002.

Image credit: Anna Anisimova

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