Citigroup's top two officers, Sanford I. Weill and John S. Reed, put down on paper this week what they had previously been practicing in the way of dividing their responsibilities.

Mr. Weill and Mr. Reed, co-chairmen and co-chief executive officers since last year's merger of Travelers Group and Citicorp, did almost everything as a pair during the early stages of their partnership. They sought to show shareholders and Wall Street that a deal between two such different companies could succeed and that their co-leadership approach would work and thrive.

In recent months, however, Mr. Weill and Mr. Reed have shown more willingness to appear separately in public, observers said.

The executives codified that in a memorandum that they co-signed and sent to employees Wednesday: "We no longer feel the need to attend every meeting together or read all the same memos. Instead we can better divide the job of leading this great company and simplify the decision-making process."

Mr. Weill, known as more of a hands-on manager, assumes control over all of the bank's profit centers-consumer services, asset management, and corporate and investment banking-as well as financial reporting functions.

Mr. Reed, regarded as more of a visionary, will be a "focal point" for technology projects, especially the development of Internet capabilities, and for staff functions such as legal and human resources.

Mr. Weill has been more out in front of the investing community. In December, he went without Mr. Reed to open the New York Stock Exchange on the day the company's ticker symbol changed to "C."

Mr. Reed's purview includes the Internet initiatives and "e-Citi" functions that he and some of his hand-picked leaders from Citibank, such as former Viacom Inc. executive Edward Horowitz, have championed.

As the split was interpreted by Sanford C. Bernstein & Co. analyst Ronald Mandle, Mr. Weill represents "feet on the ground," Mr. Reed "eyes to the stars."

The Citigroup memo said the executives, who retain their "co-" titles, share oversight of risk management, credit policy, and strategic planning.

Observers said the move reflects the indelible impression being made by the old Travelers' expense-obsessed corporate culture, while allowing an outlet for the old Citibank's strengths in imagination and product innovation.

"They have split according to their preferences," said Diane Glossman, an analyst at Lehman Brothers. "It is a recognition of what has been in progress already."

A Citigroup spokesman said neither executive was available for comment Thursday.

Wall Street watchers embraced the decision. "It will speed up the decision-making process, and that's a good thing," said Mr. Mandle.

He said in a research note that freeing Mr. Weill from staff functions would allow him to focus on revenue growth and cost control. Mr. Mandle and others said much of that growth could come from acquisitions-a hallmark of Mr. Weill's career.

Citigroup has not shied away from making deals. This year it bought $1.9 billion of credit card loans from Mellon Bank Corp., 169 branches in the United States and Canada from Associates First Capital Corp., and a bank in Argentina.

George Bicher, an analyst at Deutsche Banc Alex. Brown, recently estimated that Citi could have a pool of $5 billion available for acquisitions.

Analysts said they did not consider the splitting of responsibilities to be evidence of personal tensions between the executives-though such have been the subject of rumors.

In their memo, Mr. Weill and Mr. Reed said, "After several months working side by side, we feel we know each other well, know the company well, and instinctively rely on each other's judgment.

"This evolving model will involve an even greater amount of interaction between the two of us on a daily basis."

Subscribe Now

Access to authoritative analysis and perspective and our data-driven report series.

14-Day Free Trial

No credit card required. Complete access to articles, breaking news and industry data.