Citicorp officially took over AT&T Universal Card Services Corp.'s $14 billion portfolio Thursday, completing a deal that brings back the banking company's former U.S. credit card chief, Richard J. Srednicki.

Citicorp agreed in December to buy the portfolio from AT&T for $3.5 billion.

Mr. Srednicki left Citibank a year ago to run the telephone company's card business in Jacksonville, Fla. He was president and chief executive of the mostly MasterCard portfolio.

Mr. Srednicki, a 13-year veteran of Citibank, has moved back to New York, assuming a new position in which he will report to Alvaro de Souza, executive vice president of Citibank's North American consumer bank.

Another former Citibank executive, Daniel R. DeMeo, 39, whom Mr. Srednicki recruited a year ago to run AT&T's card marketing was named business unit manager and senior site officer of Citibank Universal Card Services. He will report to A. Sami Siddiqui, head of Citibank's North American card business.

The 50-year-old Mr. Srednicki will initially help to fold AT&T's card business into Citibank's. His long-term role and formal title have not been determined, said Citibank spokeswoman Maria Mendler.

"It is like the prodigal son returning home," said James Shanahan, of Business Dynamics Consulting, Nyack, N.Y. "He is a classic Citibank guy: aggressive, analytical, and tough."

Mr. Srednicki's star was on the rise at Citibank when he left in 1996 to join Universal. He had been in charge of the consumer branch business in Germany, Citibank's largest outside of the United States.

Before that he ran Citibank's North American credit card business.

His new position working with Mr. Alvarez, who reports to William I. Campbell, executive vice president in charge of retail banking worldwide, will give him the same stature as if he had stayed with Citibank, industry observers.

Mr. Srednicki will likely leverage his experience running the branch business in Germany in his work with Mr. Alvarez, who overseas all North American retail businesses, said Ms. Mendler.

In January, Citibank quietly hired Dinyar S. Devitre to run credit cards in Europe, the Middle East, and Africa. Mr. Devitre held a number of senior international positions at Philip Morris, of which Mr. Campbell was the chairman of U.S. operations.

Mr. Devitre joined shortly after Roberta J. Arena resigned from Citibank. Ms. Arena had had responsibility for credit cards in North America and Europe since 1994. Her departure was a hot topic, as it was seen as a protest against change in reporting lines to Citicorp's chief executive John Reed.

Last year Mr. Reed put Mr. Campbell in charge of the bank's global retail banking team, thus diminishing Ms. Arena's authority over the credit card business and direct communication with Mr. Reed.

Ms. Arena took over the reins from Mr. Srednicki, who left for Germany when Ms. Arena arrived in New York after a three-year stint running Citibank's cards in Europe.

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