Kristen Bitterly, Citigroup | Most Powerful Women: Next
Head of capital markets for the Americas, Citi Private Bank
Overhauling Citi Private Bank's capital markets business in the Americas required finding someone who not only had expertise in that sector, but also had the ability to lead a team through a difficult change while growing revenue. The natural pick was Kristen Bitterly.
At the time she was in charge of investments in the private bank's U.S. Eastern region, which was producing year-over-year growth approaching 50%.
She accepted the newly created role as head of capital markets for the Americas in March 2018 and went to work centralizing a business in which every region and product line was operating independently.
The new position had its challenges early on. "There's always a moment where you go from being a producer and everyone's peer and then you get promoted — that's one of the most difficult transitions." said Bitterly, who is one of 15 women selected for our inaugural Next list. (This extension of our Most Powerful Women in Banking program is meant to highlight high-achieving women in the leadership pipeline who are age 40 and under.)
Bitterly powered through. She developed a business plan that focused on diversifying revenue and reducing reliance on top clients. She forged strong internal partnerships across both the technology and operations platforms. And she redefined roles on the team and recruited top talent.
The results include a satisfying spike in business, particularly among the most sophisticated types of clients.
"Kristen has demonstrated her ability to simultaneously manage a business and serve clients." — Tracey Warson, head of North America, Citi Private Bank
Bitterly also has set out to offer clients insight on less traditional topics. She recently identified a need for clients to better understand blockchain technology, and led two panels that aimed to demystify the concept for family office and advisory board executives.
Across the private bank more broadly, Bitterly is working to increase diversity in the ranks. As a co-founder of Leadership 4 Tomorrow — a program meant to nurture rising talent in the company — she has helped diverse leaders add management responsibilities. Her television appearances to discuss the markets are intended in part to show young women roles like hers are an option.
Nominating executive: Tracey Warson, head of North America, Citi Private Bank
What she says: “Kristen has demonstrated her ability to simultaneously manage a business and serve clients, including previously leading our investment business in the U.S. Eastern region,” Warson wrote in nominating Bitterly for the Next list. Citing Bitterly’s tireless work ethic, her rising profile within the industry, and her ability to “effectively and eloquently explain the most complex trade concepts or structures,” Warson predicted, “I can see Kristen taking on larger businesses within Citi in the near future.”