New York, NY – Citigroup CEO Jane Fraser announced a major corporate restructuring on Wednesday in an effort to simplify operations, accelerate decision-making, and boost the bank’s lagging stock price.
The historic financial services giant will be divided into five core business lines – Wealth Management, Personal Banking, Institutional Clients Group, Global Banking, and Markets & Securities Services. All five units will report directly to Fraser in an attempt to reduce bureaucratic layers and place accountability on business heads.
“These changes eliminate unnecessary complexity across the bank, increase accountability for delivering excellent client service and strengthen our ability to benefit from the natural linkages that exist amongst our businesses, all with an eye toward delivering on our medium-term targets,” Fraser stated.
The reorganization represents the most dramatic shake-up at Citigroup since Fraser took over the helm in early 2021 as the bank’s first female CEO. It comes as the company has badly trailed rivals like JPMorgan and Bank of America in key metrics such as revenue growth, expense management and stock performance.
Citigroup shares have plunged nearly 25% over the past year despite broad gains across the banking sector. Fraser has faced mounting pressure from analysts and investors to jumpstart the bank’s lagging profit engine and simplify a management structure notorious for siloed operations.
The restructuring will shrink the bank’s operating committees from more than 40 to fewer than 10. Front-line staff and mid-level managers will take on more responsibilities previously held by senior executives. The trimming of bureaucratic layers aims to improve communication between businesses and headquarters.
Citigroup confirmed the moves will include an undisclosed number of job cuts, which were described as “not immaterial” by people familiar with the matter. The reductions will hit managerial roles across the organization rather than front-line customer-facing positions.
The bank has already cut over 15,000 jobs under Fraser as it exits non-core overseas markets, part of a broader effort to simplify the sprawling global franchise. Additional layoffs through attrition are likely in the months ahead as duplication is eliminated between the reorganized units.
Analysts viewed the restructuring as a positive step to unlocking shareholder value, but stressed that execution will be key. Fraser will need to follow through on bold targets to improve returns and capital efficiency over the next several years.
Maintaining a disciplined control on expenses will require tough choices oncosts as well as headcount. Investors will also want to see Citigroup leverage its unique global footprint to cross-sell products and services across the reimagined business lines.
Fraser emphasized the reorganization was undertaken through close collaboration with division heads and the board of directors. Citi has lagged peers in recovering from the pandemic economic crisis and grappling with uncertainty around reserve levels.
Wednesday’s moves aim to put Citigroup on stronger footing to compete in a rapidly evolving landscape – both within the U.S. and key international markets where Citi has long maintained an outsized presence relative to rivals.
With its transformation underway, Fraser will be under pressure to show meaningful progress towards the bank’s 11%-12% return on tangible common equity target. Citi has plenty of ground to make up to match leading firms like JPMorgan already producing returns above 15%.
Execution risks abound, but analysts saw Fraser’s direct accountability and streamlined structure as key steps to unlocking Citigroup’s potential. Investors will be monitoring closely for both financial progress and evidence of a meaningful cultural shift.