NEW YORK -- Citicorp's decision to hire Christopher J. Steffen, the tough-minded former chief financial officer of Eastman Kodak & Co., as its expense czar was cheered by analysts on Thursday.
"It's one more step toward effecting the turnaround and making it credible," said Arthur Soter, an analyst at Morgan Stanley & Co. "Citicorp's managers ... haven't had a lot of experience in managing the process of ongoing productivity improvement."
The nation's largest banking company confirmed a report in The Wall Street Journal that Mr. Steffen, 51, will oversee internal operations, productivity programs, control, and audit. He will join in June and sit on Citicorp's six-member management committee team.
Mr. Steffen helped revive Honeywell Inc. and Chrysler Corp. before a stormy three-month stint at Kodak. At Citicorp, which has wrung $1.3 billion out of its annual expense base over the past two years, he is expected to ask for more cuts.
Citicorp chairman John S. Reed has told analysts another $1 billion can be cut and reinvested in business lines -- but he said a strong executive was needed to direct the plan.
The hiring "reinforces our position that this company will remain focused on productivity," said Diane Glossman, an analyst at Salomon Brothers.