After only eight months on the job, Citigroup CIO Marty Lippert has resigned, leaving a tech leadership gap as the troubled institution struggles to corral a massive multinational IT infrastructure.
Citi’s chief administrative officer, Don Callahan, will assume Lippert’s duties until a replacement can be found. These duties had included heading a newly centralized global technology and operations division responsible for using the IT shop to transform Citi’s preexisting, cumbersome holding company model into a single enterprise more capable of leveraging the institution’s considerable global scale.
In a memo to staff, Callahan said that bank has made “significant progress” in these efforts. “Unfortunately for Citi, Marty has decided to return home to Canada for personal reasons. We recognise this was not an easy decision for him, especially given the progress he and his team have made in such a short time. “
A Citi spokesperson would not comment beyond the Callahan memo.
Replacing Lippert, whose career path well-positioned him for the job at Citi, may not be easy. Lippert was previously vice chairman and group head of global technology and operations at RBC, where he was central to expansion into the U.S., a process that included integrating a number is disparate and cross-border back office processing systems for different lines of business, work similar to what needs to be done to integrate Citi’s global holdings, which have been siloed along consumer banking, wealth management, cards and institutional business lines—with each group running its own IT shop.
“While there may have been some integration at Citi, there’s still a lot of work to do,” says Guillermo Kopp, an analyst for TowerGroup, who says the success of the initiatives Lippert was hired to spearhead are not only vital for Citi to remain competitive with rivals like JP Morgan Chase, HSBC, Wells Fargo and Bank of America, but the key to the bank’s very survival. “From a business standpoint, the goal may be to diversify, but in the tech shop it’s about controlling resources with the right architecture. Citi’s going to need to make sure it has the right team of people to drive that structural change.”