The recent spate of reorganizations and promotions at major banks is a telling indicator of stiffening competition and ambitious, if not expansive, agendas. Citigroup, Wells Fargo, Bank of America, Synovus, Washington Mutual, Barclays and Lloyds are among the institutions that are reshuffling their decks and prepping with top people for the next wave of battle.

What do heavy hitters such as Wells Fargo president and COO John Stumpf, Bank of America CFO Alvaro de Molina, Synovus CEO Richard Anthony, Washington Mutual president of retail banking distribution Michael Amatto and Citigroup global consumer co-heads Ajay Banga and Steven Freiberg all have in common? Their stars are rising within their organizations.

What bank CEOs such as Citigroup's Charles Prince hope this talent-tinkering will do is align their organizations more effectively and profitably to capture market share and new business. Prince's announcement on September 13th of the reorganization of Citi's Global Consumer Group meant sweeping changes to the world long-dominated by Marjorie Magner.

Eager to build his own team and shed former CEO Sandy Weill's aura-built one deal at a time-Prince is looking to button things up on the compliance front, while establishing a tighter relationship between Citi's global product platform and and the newly created customer-franchise-management group.

Bank of America chief Ken Lewis, ever mindful of his competition and how it affects his agenda, is doing a little talent reshuffling of his own, naming de Molina, who had been CEO of Banc of America Securities, to the bank's CFO post.

With the future in mind, Synovus Financial chairman James Blanchard took up his bank's most pressing cause: succession planning. Blanchard, due to retire in 2006, named Anthony to the helm. On the West Coast, Wells Fargo chief executive Richard Kovacevich is doing some succession planning of his own. John Stumpf got a big nod from the corner office when he was named president and COO.

Across the pond, things are just as active. In late spring, Lloyds enticed Terri Dial, a former Wells Fargo executive, to join as group executive director of UK retail banking operations. She now has new company-and competition. This month, Deanna Oppenheimer, former president of Washington Mutual's banking and financial services group, assumes her post as COO of Barclays UK.

The next 18 months should be active, with rumors swirling about Wells Fargo and Lloyds both doing deals. How that will affect rivals is anyone's guess, but one thing is certain: executives shouldn't get too comfortable in their chairs. (c) 2005 U.S. Banker and SourceMedia, Inc. All Rights Reserved. http://www.us-banker.com http://www.sourcemedia.com

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