Ambitious and individualistic, Citicorp chairman John S. Reed has kept characteristically removed from the banking industry's merger frenzy. He has worked hard and with much-vaunted success at building an internationally recognized consumer financial services franchise. But he has insisted on doing most of it through small deals or internal expansion. Still, his preference for pursuing a largely consumer-oriented strategy has not blinded him to the changing realities of the global financial services marketplace. Indeed, fellow bankers call the 59-year-old Mr. Reed, who has worked at Citicorp since 1965, a visionary. ?John Reed has typically been ahead of our industry in his thinking, said Lawrence Fish, the chairman, president and chief executive officer of Citizens Financial Group. Trained as an electrical engineer and with a master's degree from MIT's Sloan School of Management, Mr. Reed's first job at Citicorp was as a strategic planner in the overseas division. His emphasis on the big-picture, and his instinctive emphasis on thinking multinationally Mr. Reed was raised in Argentina and Brazil, the son of an Armour Co. executive is most likely what led to his willingness to partner with Mr. Weill and Travelers Group. There are going to be gigantic financial services companies in the future which are global in scope in banking, insurance, investment management and investment banking, said Rodgin Cohen, a partner at Sullivan & Cromwell. If anyone knows this, Mr. Reed does.
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