Another reshuffle of Citigroup’s top management

NEW YORK: Citigroup Inc. shuffled its top management again Thursday, naming its third chief financial officer of the year and bringing in a new head of its Citibank division as it returns its focus to traditional banking.

Edward Kelly, who took over as the bank's finance chief in March, is on the move for the second time in less than five months and will now oversee strategy and mergers in a new role as vice chairman.

John Gerspach, 56, currently the bank's chief accounting officer, is taking over as CFO.

"It's a little bit surprising, Kelly changed roles so quickly,” said Jason O'Donnell, a senior research analyst at Boenning & Scattergood Inc. "It doesn't seem to be enough time to give a CFO a chance." Gary Crittenden, who served as CFO until being replaced by Kelly in March, is leaving the company altogether. He most recently served as chairman of Citi Holdings, a unit created earlier in the year to house Citigroup's riskiest assets, which caused the bank massive losses and prompted a series of government bailouts.

Citigroup has been among the hardest hit banks by the credit crisis and ongoing recession. Citigroup has received $45 billion in aid from the government since last fall, part of which is being converted to a 34 percent stake in the bank.

Citigroup turned to an outsider, veteran bank executive Eugene McQuade, to lead its main banking group. McQuade, 60, has held top positions at Freddie Mac, Merrill Lynch, Bank of America and FleetBoston.

The shakeup marked the latest turbulence in the top ranks at Citigroup, which has been struggling to remake itself and return to profitability. The bank has been selling assets, remaking its board, and shuffling other executives to different roles.

"Clearly there's some instability in the executive management," O'Donnell said. "That's a reflection of the fundamental state of the company." Citigroup has been under intense scrutiny from the government.

Analysts say regulators could eventually take a more active role in pushing for other management changes, including ousting Pandit, if Citigroup can't right itself.

Before taking over as CFO, Kelly, who is 56, was head of global banking for Citi Private Bank.

At the time Crittenden left as CFO, a person familiar with the decision said he decided to change jobs due to an illness in his family. The person spoke on condition of anonymity because of the sensitivity of the matter.

Crittenden, 55, is leaving the company and will become a managing director at the private equity firm Huntsman Gay Global Capital.