As a veteran of political campaigns and the Clinton White House, Lisa Caputo is a battle-tested strategist and tactician - useful experience for handling global marketing and corporate affairs at Citigroup Inc.
At the height of the credit crisis, Caputo kept Citi in touch with employees, customers and regulators. She spearheaded a print advertising campaign to publicize how the company was regaining its own footing and helping clients through tough times, and her team produces lengthy quarterly reports to show how Citi is using funds from the Troubled Asset Relief Program.
"I tend to thrive in crisis situations. You learn how to navigate through them," says Caputo, who was communications director for former First Lady Hillary Rodham Clinton during the 1994 health care debate and a series of scandals tied to the Clinton White House.
But while Caputo may have come to Citi prepared for the communications aspect of her work, she is not shy about admitting she needed all the on-the-job training she could get for her other role at the company: running Women & Co., a membership program designed to put women in command of their personal finances. When Caputo was recruited to launch it, she put in late nights and weekends trying to figure out what to do.
"I knew nothing about financial services, I hadn't run a business before and I was new to Citi," Caputo says.
But she shepherded Women & Co. from the idea stage to start-up mode, and then turned it into a full-fledged business with more than $30 billion in member balances. "To be given the opportunity to do that was just one of the most extraordinary opportunities I've had in my career," says Caputo, one of the few women in the industry to have roles in both the P&L and functional aspects of the business.
"I'm consistently impressed by Lisa's energy and determination in her professional responsibilities, but what's also been very meaningful to me is the example she sets for her team as a working mother," says Shannon Bell, Citi's director of corporate media relations and a new mother. "She's a constant reminder of the importance of striking the right balance between pursuing a challenging career and a satisfying personal life, and keeping the right perspective about both."