Citicorp has named new chiefs for its private banking and investment products groups, continuing the recent high-level management reshuffling.

Alvaro A.C. de Souza, currently head of Citicorp's cross-border finance group, was named head of the private bank, effective Feb. 1.

Mr. de Souza succeeds Hubertus M. Rukavina, who becomes head of Citicorp's investment products and distribution group, also on Feb. 1. The top position in that group was recently vacated by David J. Browning, who relinquished his position in October after a year on the job. Mr. Browning is on a personal leave of absence.

The appointments, announced Jan. 16, come on the heels of a round of top-level changes days earlier. On Jan. 12, Citicorp said vice chairman Pei-yuan Chia - long seen as a possible successor to chairman John Reed- was taking early retirement. Other key changes unveiled at that time included the appointment of a former tobacco industry executive, William Campbell, as head of worldwide retail banking activities.

Observers speculated that Mr. Reed picked Mr. de Souza and Mr. Rukavina as part of a strategy of bringing international talent to the forefront of the banking company's management; both men have had extensive tours of duty overseas.

Mr. de Souza, 47, reports directly to Mr. Reed; Mr. Rukavina, 46, answers to Mr. Campbell.

The latest round of changes raised eyebrows among some banking experts, who said the private bank, and more particularly the investment products group, have been rocked by excessive organizational changes.

"Frequent change at the top creates anxiety and instability of people in their organization, and it's difficult for them to understand what's going on," said David Ross Palmer, a New York consultant who advises banks on serving well-heeled clients.

Another banking consultant characterized the reshuffling as vintage Citicorp.

"You have a very short leash for getting things done. There is a very impatient environment on the senior level," said this source, a former executive at Citicorp who did not want his name used. Mr. Reed's style, he said, "is to keep people on their feet."

But a spokeswoman said there was nothing extraordinary about the management changes. "Once you get to know Citibank, that is very typical. We try to move management around to give people different business and geographical experiences," she said.

The private bank at Citicorp is one of the most established in the industry. It operates offices in 31 countries and territories. Mr. de Souza, a Citicorp veteran who has held numerous posts in Latin America, will oversee the private bank from its Zurich headquarters.

A native of Brazil, Mr. de Souza oversaw the underwriting, distribution, and trading of international securities as head of the cross-border finance group.

The investment products and distribution group is much less established than the private bank, having been formed in mid-1994. It oversees the retail and institutional asset management and brokerage activities.

Mr. Browning, who was the first executive to head the investment products group, intended to step aside for three months when he relinquished the post in October. But the absence has dragged on, and a Citicorp spokeswoman said that Mr. Browning "preferred to have the bank name someone in his absence, because this is such a new group."

His successor, Mr. Rukavina, joined Citicorp in 1973. A native of Argentina, he had been with the private bank for six years before being picked to run it in 1993.

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