Citigroup Inc. (C), the third-biggest U.S. lender, named Anthony Santomero chairman of the board that oversees Citibank NA, the lender’s main banking subsidiary that holds almost 70 percent of its $1.94 trillion of assets.
“As a former president of the Philadelphia Federal Reserve, Dr. Santomero has a deep understanding of the regulatory system governing financial institutions, making him an excellent chairman for the Citibank NA board,” Citigroup Chairman Michael O’Neill said yesterday in an e-mail.
Santomero, 65, succeeded O’Neill as chairman of the banking subsidiary, according to a document dated April 17 on New York- based Citigroup’s website. He served as president of the Philadelphia Fed from 2000 to 2006 and is a former adviser to McKinsey & Co.
The board of the parent company got a makeover last month as Chairman Richard Parsons retired along with long-time director Alain Belda. O’Neill now heads the personnel and compensation and executive committees. Santomero, in addition to his new role, leads the bank’s risk-management and finance committee and is a member of the audit and executive committees.
Santomero was among directors tapped in 2009 to bolster the board’s experience in the wake of the $45 billion U.S. bailout. He received a doctorate in economics from Brown University in 1971 and was a finance professor at the Wharton School at the University of Pennsylvania. He’s a director of RenaissanceRe Holdings Ltd. (RNR) and Penn Mutual Life Insurance Co.
The Citibank subsidiary is covered by federal deposit insurance and had $1.31 trillion in assets at the end of March, according to regulatory records. Citigroup restructured the unit’s board in 2009 to add more independent directors after regulators criticized its ability to monitor risk. The subsidiary was previously led by Bill Rhodes, who at the time was a Citigroup executive and is now a senior adviser.
“The Citibank NA board had no effective oversight role specific to the risk profile of the bank,” according to a Feb. 14, 2008, letter to Chief Executive Officer Vikram Pandit from John Lyons, an Office of the Comptroller of the Currency examiner. “The Citibank NA Board was also inadequately informed of material risks facing the bank.”
Citibank directors include former Wells Fargo & Co. executive Robert Joss, Lawrence Ricciardi, Robert Ryan and Joan Spero.