High-flier Krawcheck's hopes of top Citigroup job dented

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The Independent Online

Sallie Krawcheck, Citigroup's chief financial officer and one of Wall Street's most powerful female executives, is being shunted back to her old job running the company's global wealth management arm - the latest rearrangement of deck chairs at the troubled financial giant.

Ms Krawcheck will replace Todd Thomson, who quit the company yesterday, bringing to a close an era where the pair were vying with each other to succeed the current Citigroup chief executive, Chuck Prince.

Ms Krawcheck's star has fallen sharply during the two years since she swapped jobs with Mr Thomson. Her failure to rein in costs across the group has drawn fire from shareholders.

Last month, Mr Prince promoted his long-time colleague Bob Druskin over the heads of Mr Thomson and Ms Krawcheck, creating a new post of chief operating officer and giving him a brief to slash costs. He also now temporarily takes over the global wealth management arm temporarily until a new chief financial officer is hired to free up Ms Krawcheck.

Craig Woker, an analyst at Morningstar, said the move could be good for Ms Krawcheck, a hands-on operations manager, who had reportedly been unhappy with the finance role for some months. "Citigroup had billed the swap two years ago as a promotion for Krawcheck and Thomson, and now bills the switch back as a promotion for Krawcheck - it's like Lake Wobegon, where everyone's moving up," said Mr Woker. "Putting her back in wealth management lets her succeed in a job she had proven successful in. The real question becomes whether she still has anything to prove, and whether she sticks around."

Citigroup's global wealth management division includes the Smith Barney fund management and investment research business, as well as a private bank. Analysts were split on whether her move back to the division increased the chances that it may be split off, as some investors have been demanding. Mr Prince, though, said her appointment would allow more integration between Smith Barney and the rest of the financial corporation.

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