One of Citigroup Inc’s more serendipitous real estate investments turned out to be the roof deck it built into its newly renovated downtown New York headquarters. With sweeping views of the Hudson River, it is a thoroughly ventilated space that investment bankers and traders can slip away to for some socialising or after-hours cocktails. Not a bad perk for those back in the office in the midst of the lingering pandemic.

Kicking back at a patio table, Jane Fraser, Citigroup’s newly installed CEO, is discussing one of her first wins on the job. Early in the summer, she broke with a slew of rival bank CEOs who were cajoling workers back to their old desks just as the delta variant of Covid-19 was spreading, leading to infections that eventually forced them to revise their plans yet again. She has taken a more relaxed approach, mostly letting employees decide when they want to return. This may sound warm and fuzzy but it is also a weapon for recruiting and retaining talent. Her team has been fielding inquiries recently from executives looking to defect from rivals including JPMorgan Chase & Co and Goldman Sachs Group Inc.

“I want to crush the competition,” Fraser says, sipping her coffee. The first woman CEO of a top US bank makes it easy to forget she has assumed one of the toughest jobs in global finance right now. Citigroup’s stock price is languishing below the levels it notched just a bit over three years ago, even as some of its US competitors’ shares sit near record highs. The Scotland-born 54-yearold says she has a plan to reshape the bank, starting with its wealth management and global consumer businesses.

To continue reading,

Sign in to access this Premium article.

Subscription entitlements:

Less than $9 per month
3 Simultaneous logins across all devices
Unlimited access to latest and premium articles
Bonus unlimited access to online articles and virtual newspaper on The Edge Malaysia (single login)

Stay updated with Singapore corporate news stories for FREE

Follow our Telegram | Facebook