Mary Cirillo, a longtime banking industry executive who left a high-profile job at Deutsche Bank in March, has become chairman and chief executive officer of Opcenter LLC, a New York Internet consulting company.
The move puts Ms. Cirillo among a host of executives who have left the world of traditional banking and joined New Economy firms since last year.
In March Heidi Miller left her post as Citigroup Inc.'s chief financial officer to join Priceline.com as finance chief. Mary Alice Taylor, a Citi executive vice president, left that post last September to run HomeGrocer.com.
Ms. Cirillo was executive vice president and CEO of Deutsche Bank's global institutional services unit until she left in the spring.
"There's a revolution going on," she said in an interview Tuesday. "Technology has this great allure right now. People are being forced to think differently, and they are making a judgment on what might be fun rather than climbing up the next rung in a large, bureaucratic organization."
Executive recruiters said entrepreneurial pursuits are starting to have particular appeal to a group of highly successful executives who are deciding that working for a big corporation is not necessarily better.
"We see a lot of movement among people who have been to the top of the mountain," said John Rogan, managing director and head of the global banking and markets practice at Russell Reynolds Associates. "They've already been there, done that. They are very competitive, and it appeals to them to go in and start something from the ground floor."
Certainly, the jump includes some risks, as Internet companies do not always last on their own. This month Ms. Taylor left HomeGrocer after its sale to webvan.com.
Ms. Cirillo acknowledged that Opcenter, like many Internet start-ups, is not yet turning a profit. "Right now, we're plowing earnings back into opening new offices," she said. In addition to its New York headquarters, Opcenter has offices in Boston; Stamford, Conn.; and Clark, N.J.
The four-year-old company provides staffing and advice for Fortune 500 companies' Web sites and call centers. Opcenter has some financial services firms as clients, but it also works for several manufacturing companies.
Ms. Cirillo started her banking career in 1977 as a marketer for Citibank. Twenty years later she was running the operations and tech group for the global bank and Citi's cash management business.
She jumped to Bankers Trust Corp. in 1997, where she was in charge of the bank's cash management and securities processing business. Bankers Trust was bought last year by Deutsche Bank.
Ms. Cirillo, who has been on Opcenter's board for several years and originally got involved with the company as a private investor, said her new job appealed to her because she was anxious to get back into the technology world after a long detour managing large operations.
Opcenter has 140 employees, and is run on a day-to-day basis by president Anne Crowley. Ms. Cirillo said her own role will be designing and directing the company's growth strategy.
The company is currently organized as a limited liability corporation, but it may eventually go public. "There are no immediate plans" for an IPO, she said, "but it is in our thoughts."
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