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Citi just poached a 20-year veteran of the firm back from Barclays to run its commercial bank as it looks to ‘refresh’ its strategy

  • Citi has rehired Tasnim Ghiawadwala, a longtime former exec, to lead its commercial bank.
  • Ghiawadwala was most recently head Barclays’ corporate bank in the UK.
  • She previously spent more than 20 years at Citi.
  • See more stories on Insider’s business page.

A Barclays executive who spent 20 years at Citi is rejoining her old firm to lead its commercial bank.

Tasnim Ghiawadwala is returning to Citi to be the new head of its commercial bank (CCB), according to an internal memo sent Friday by Paco Ybarra, CEO of Citi’s institutional clients group (ICG), and viewed by Insider. 

Ghiawadwala spent more than 21 years at Citi before moving to Barclays in 2018, where she was head of its corporate bank in the United Kingdom. At Citi, Ghiawadwala previously ran the CCB in Europe, the Middle East, and Africa (EMEA) for nearly eight years. She was also a member of the bank’s EMEA operating committee.

She replaces Sunil Garg, who was appointed CEO of Citibank North America in February and is chairing the bank’s new risk and controls project group. Ghiawadwala is set to start after a six-month garden leave, according to a source familiar with the situation. She’ll report directly to Ybarra.

Ghiawadwala will “help refresh” CCB strategy and accelerate market growth, according to the memo, while focusing on expanding Citi’s digital offerings.

She’ll also work closely with all of the ICG businesses as well as the bank’s global functions partners to “ensure a holistic approach to strengthening our risk and control environment in a way that will help make us better in everything we do for our clients and further strengthen our competitive advantages,” the memo said.

In August 2020, Citibank mistakenly sent $900 million to Revlon lenders, an error that highlighted the risk and control issues Citi has previously faced as a result of several technology systems patched together from decades of deals done by the bank. Those issues would prove to be part of what led to Michael Corbat’s retirement as CEO, Insider previously reported.

Jane Fraser, who took the role earlier this year, became the first woman to lead a major US bank. Fraser has already formed a new global operating team to build accountability among top leaders, which is a “key element” to the bank’s continued transformation, she said in a February memo. The team includes top Citi executives, the global treasurer, and leaders of the bank’s top business units.

Reuters first reported the news of Ghiawadwala’s appointment. 

Citi has undergone a slew of changes in recent years, including a reorganization of its consumer banking division in 2018 as well as overhauling multiple other divisions. Ybarra took over as ICG head after his predecessor resigned in 2019, and its investment-banking and Banking, Capital Markets, and Advisory (BCMA) groups have also undergone a major face-lift.

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