The Women to Watch: No. 13, Citigroup's Mary McNiff

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Chief Auditor, Citigroup

Mary McNiff arguably has the most important auditing job in all of banking.

As the chief auditor at Citigroup, McNiff leads the industry's largest auditing staff, with more than 1,800 employees scattered across dozens of countries where Citi does business.

McNiff joined Citi in 2012 from Lloyds Banking Group as transformational director for internal audit and later became chief auditor of the institutional group. She left the auditing group in 2015 to become the chief administrative officer for Latin America and Mexico in 2015.

Then, in early 2017, Citi CEO Michael Corbat tapped her to succeed Mark Carawan as chief auditor after Carawan was named head of compliance. Corbat said at the time that McNiff earned the promotion by dramatically improving the controls at the company's Citibanamex unit in Mexico, as well as at its other operations throughout Latin America.

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Among McNiff's key initiatives has been using technology to keep pace with the increased demands being placed on auditing teams without substantially adding to headcount. Her group, which now includes a new head of innovation, has invested heavily in data analytics and robotics to help spot emerging risks, improve efficiency and ultimately speed up decision-making.

At the same time, McNiff is committed to grooming the next generation of internal auditors. She initiated the first-ever analyst program for internal audit, which is designed to train and mentor young auditors at the very early stages of their careers.

She is also committed to "developing diversity of thought" throughout the auditing unit and, to that end, has launched a global development program that is aimed at attracting new talent from all backgrounds.

McNiff represents the auditing division at many board meetings, reporting to James Turley, the chairman of the board of directors’ audit committee. She is also a member of the Citi leadership team, reporting directly to Corbat.

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