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Citigroup names veteran to take charge of its riskier ventures

Citigroup Inc yesterday appointed Chief Financial Officer Gary Crittenden as chairman of the unit in charge of its riskier assets and tougher-to-manage ventures, the latest move in a massive management reshuffling at the struggling bank.

Citigroup, which has dealt with a plunging stock price, has been aided by three government rescue attempts. Last month, the bank agreed to the government acquiring up to a 36-percent stake as it contends with mounting losses tied to risky investments in the housing market.

The New York-based company has seen several executives depart or replaced over the past year and a half - including its chief executive - but it is now starting to give new jobs to company veterans as it splits into two divisions.

The bank also said earlier this week that it was taking steps to overhaul its embattled board by nominating four new independent directors. The board has been widely criticized for allowing bank executives to make risky investments in the housing market and not having enough financial services experience. The new directors include two former bank CEOs and two other financial experts.

The board would have 14 members with four new directors, and the bank says it is considering future additions.

In January, Citigroup Chief Executive Vikram Pandit, who took the helm in December 2007, said the company was splitting in two divisions - Citi Holdings and Citicorp - after suffering its fifth straight quarterly loss. That month the bank named Mike Corbat, previously head of the global wealth management division, as interim chief executive of Citi Holdings.

Citi Holdings runs the company's local consumer finance businesses, its brokerage and asset management segments, and the pool of assets the government agreed to backstop losses on. Citicorp focuses on traditional banking.

As chairman of Citi Holdings - a newly created position - Crittenden will be responsible for maximizing the value of the division's businesses.

Crittenden will be succeeded by Edward "Ned" Kelly, former head of global banking for Citi Private Bank.


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