Edward D. Horowitz, who moved to Citicorp from Viacom Inc. last January, has big plans to transform the banking company.
"Just like the entertainment industry, Citibank needs to redefine itself," Mr. Horowitz, executive vice president of advanced development, said last week.
"Nothing has to be invented for us to fulfill our ambition," he said, which is to have a billion customers worldwide, up from the current 60 million. "But we have to make a leap to extend our base from the current to the new," he told a group of journalists invited to meet him for the first time.
"We need to figure out how to communicate to our current customers, take our relationships with our current base, transform them, and accelerate them to the new environment," said Horowitz.
He envisions close cooperation among four key parts of the Citicorp organization: the consumer bank, corporate bank, the operations platform, and his advanced development group.
Asked about how effective these efforts have been so far, he replied, "Is it smooth? Not every day. Do we fight? Of course we fight. Is there intellectual debate? Yes, lots of it."
The objective, to use a word others bandy about, is customer-centricity. Citibank is concerned that companies like America Online and Microsoft have moved into a position of influence that could overshadow the financial relationship.
"Ultimately we want to become interactive," Mr. Horowitz said. "We want to use technology as an enabler to empower people to manage their finances. We will move with the customer-wherever that customer may be."
Mr. Horowitz, who reports to chairman John Reed, oversees 800 people in the advanced development division, which pulls together all the banking company's alternative delivery channels.
"My responsibility is to develop new electronic channels of distribution and services to allow us put the customer in the middle," he explained.
In the past, he said, Citibank developed technology internally because it could not otherwise conform to the vision that Mr. Reed had. The company in recent years has become receptive to cooperation. Today, joint ventures, acquisitions, and alliances are all in the cards.
"In the new Citibank we will build a little, buy a little, and integrate a lot," said Mr. Horowitz. His motto is to be "one click, one call, one mile" away from any one of Citibank's global customers.