Restructure sees Citigroup split CIO role into two

New IT executives charged with managing applications and infrastructure

Financial services firm Citigroup has removed the title of CIO from its Australian operations amid a massive global restructure which includes slashing 17,000 jobs.

While Citigroup Australia is remaining tight-lipped about local job cuts, the company expects to save more than $US10 billion over the next three years.

A Citigroup spokesperson confirmed the CIO Australia position has been dissolved following the resignation of Donna-Maree Vinci.

The position has been split into two roles with one IT executive charged with managing applications and the other managing infrastructure.

Vinci resigned from the CIO role last December with the Citigroup spokesperson confirming there will be no CIO replacement.

Vinci held the position from 2001 taking on the role after Citigroup acquired NatWest Bank in 1999.

Her primary goal was to create a centralised IT group with a business focus as part of a technology risk management mandate.

Although based in Sydney, Vinci worked closely with the US and its 9000 global IT employees.

In fact, Vinci was the bank's first high-level executive to operate outside the US or Britain.

She earned her stripes as a techie, working as a data coder for the Water Resources Commission, and as a Cobol programmer and analyst for a merchant bank.

Citigroup is completely overhauling its IT operations, including the consolidation of data centres, better use of existing technologies, optimization of global voice and data networks, standardization of its application development processes as well as tackling vendor consolidation.

"Simplification and standardization of Citigroup's information technology platform will be critical to increase efficiency and drive lower costs as well as decrease time to market," the company said in a statement.

Citigroup's restructure follows an expense review conducted over the past three months.

In addition to job cuts Citigroup will move an additional 9,500 back-office and corporate positions to lower-cost locations, both domestically and offshore. That move will allow it to eliminate some of the duplications that exist in those functions at the business, regional and headquarter level.

Other expense-cutting measures include an increased use of shared services for legal, human resources, risk management and financial operations and the sharing of some back-office functions in international markets.

The company also plans to expand efforts to centralize all of its purchases. At the end of last year, Citigroup had centralized about 65 percent of its purchases -- a percentage it hopes to grow to near 100 percent by the end of 2009.

Tower Group analyst, Guillermo Kopp, said the move is necessary because Citigroup's expenses have been growing faster than revenue.

Between 2005 and 2006, expenses grew by nearly 15 percent, while revenue grew by just 8 percent ,Kopp said.

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