Accion International has hired Michael Schlein, a longtime Citigroup Inc. executive, as its president and chief executive.

The Boston nonprofit, which supports microfinance around the world, announced the appointment Thursday. Schlein will succeed Maria Otero, who was confirmed last month as the undersecretary of state for democracy and global affairs.

Schlein, a member of Citi's operating committee, is leaving his role as its president of international franchise management, which includes helping to oversee Citi's network of 100 chief country officers. He previously managed its human resources and global corporate affairs.

Before joining Citi's management team in 2000, Schlein was a chief of staff at the Securities and Exchange Commission and a chief of staff for the New York City deputy mayor for finance and economic development. He started his career in 1984 at Smith Barney, now a Citi unit.

Schlein is the latest high-profile departure for the troubled company. Last week Citi confirmed that Peter Knitzer, a 13-year veteran who helped oversee retail banking, would leave by yearend. His departure follows those of Steven Freiberg, the head of the consumer businesses at Citi Holdings, and Ajay Banga, Citi's CEO of Asia-Pacific operations, who jumped to MasterCard Inc. in June.

In an internal memo informing employees about Schlein's decision, Lew Kaden, Citi's vice chairman, cited "mixed emotions" and said he has "a deep appreciation for [Schlein's] judgment and contributions in each of the functions he managed."

He said an announcement about Schlein's successor would be forthcoming.

Citi has a close relationship with Accion.

Diana Taylor, a Citi director, was recently named Accion's chairman, and Schlein is already a member of the board and executive committee at Accion, which highlighted his longtime commitment to microfinance in a press release.

(Schlein also held a "leadership role" at Citi Foundation, which focuses on funding microfinance and microenterprise programs, including Accion.)

Taylor said in Accion's press release on the hiring of Schlein, "Not only does he bring the depth and breadth of financial and management expertise that will be instrumental in our global expansion, but he already has an extensive knowledge of the organization."

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