While the 7,500 Citibank employees who will lose their jobs in the operations and technology group restructuring may have been surprised when the announcement came, judging by recent tech defections from the bank (read:Colin Crook, Kevin Shearan, Mary Cirillo), many senior staffers probably saw the consolidation brewing-most clearly with the arrival of COO Mary Alice Taylor earlier this year. "This is an activity which has been proceeding at a very measured pace around the bank for a couple of years," says Diane Glossman, analyst at Salomon Brothers, who says the prolonged restructuring schedule has impaired the bank's product-to-market speed and ability to "ramp up new countries quickly."
And where will the operations and tech restructuring take the bank? "Its past technology strategy was pretty much (that) everybody did their own thing, in every country, in every operation," says Michael Ancell, Citibank analyst at Edward D. Jones & Co., referring to Citi's uncoordinated approach to technology and resulting redundant operations. "Now they know they have to have one (strategy). They've got to have different parts of the company on the same platforms. ...You've got to have a well organized technology architecture so that you can use technology to see what's happening in different parts of the business on any given day."