Catherine Allen, the former Citibank vice president and founding chairman of the Smart Card Forum, announced the formation of a consulting partnership, the Santa Fe Group.

She is president and chief executive officer of the firm. Former Citibank technologist Ted Fine and entrepreneur Howard Sherman, who helped develop the Midas and SuperCuts franchise operations, are executive vice presidents.

The aim is to help businesses understand and assimilate innovations in management and technology. The firm's base, New Mexico's capital city, is a hotbed of the study of complex adaptive systems, a scientific discipline that is crossing over into business management.

Ms. Allen said she hopes to "break new ground by applying complexity theory to practical business challenges." She has scheduled a forum, "Complexity and Technology: Organizing for Innovation," in early November.

Mr. Fine, who managed Citibank's global consumer systems, said the firm could help "master the challenge" of emerging technologies like the Internet and smart cards.

Ms. Allen had been developing the business since she left Citibank early this year. Santa Fe Group has been working on several consulting assignments, but didn't begin widely advertising its services until mid- September.

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