Citigroup Executive Probably Killed Himself, Police Say

Shawn Miller
Shawn D. Miller, a Citigroup Inc. managing director who was global head of environmental and social risk management, has died. Source: Citigroup

Shawn D. Miller, a Citigroup Inc. executive who helped create an international standard for responsible lending, died from what police now suspect was a self-inflicted wound.

Miller, 42, global head of environmental and social risk management for New York-based Citigroup, was found at his home at 120 Greenwich Street in lower Manhattan on Nov. 18 with neck and wrist lacerations, the New York City Police Department said. He was pronounced dead at the scene.

The building’s doorman had gone to the apartment to check on Miller after his boyfriend was unable to reach him, police said. While a determination of the cause of death is pending toxicology reports, investigators suspect that Miller, who was found in his bathtub, killed himself, Detective Martin Speechley, a police spokesman, said today in a phone interview.

A weapon was found in the apartment, Speechley said. He said he couldn’t confirm a report in the New York Daily News, citing unidentified people, that a knife was found under Miller’s body after it was moved.

Miller may have committed suicide after a bout of alcohol and drug use with a stranger he met through the classified-advertising website Backpage.com, the Daily News reported, citing the people. Police found evidence of the use of alcohol and drugs, including crystal methamphetamine, the newspaper said.

Surveillance Video

A man seen on surveillance video arguing with Miller in the building’s elevator left the banker’s apartment late on Nov. 16 or early the next day, and Miller had told the doorman not to let him back in, the Daily News said, citing the unidentified people.

There was no evidence the man returned and there was no sign of a struggle in the apartment, the Daily News said. Miller had also called 911 twice in the last two days complaining about someone outside his building stalking him, the newspaper said.

Miller “was highly regarded at Citi and across the financial services industry as a thought leader and tireless advocate for environmental and sustainable business practices,” the bank wrote in a memo to his co-workers. “He will be greatly missed by all who knew him.”

Miller was a key figure in the field of sustainable finance, helping banks formulate guidelines to better manage risks to local populations and the environment when financing power stations, chemical plants, mines and other large projects.

“We as banks want to make sure our clients are both adhering to local laws and regulations, but also to the nationally and internationally accepted standards,” Miller told the U.K.’s Guardian newspaper last year.

Equator Principles

Miller helped oversee the creation of policies developed by the Equator Principles Association, a U.K.-based group of 80 lenders worldwide that seeks to safeguard environmental and social conditions when financing major projects. He headed the group’s steering committee from 2010 to 2012 and co-authored standards for “responsible risk decision-making,” according to the group’s website.

The so-called Equator Principles are “the gold standard for the project finance industry,” Citigroup said in its statement.

“He was a true leader, a driving force in developing and promoting the ‘Equator Principles,’” the Association’s steering committee said today in an e-mailed statement.

Maxwell School

Miller attended the Maxwell School of Citizenship and Public Affairs at Syracuse University in New York, earning a master’s degree in 1996 in international relations, according to the school’s website. He won a U.S. Education Department fellowship to study Bengali at the school’s South Asia Center and an advanced fellowship at the American Institute of Indian Studies in Calcutta, India, according to his LinkedIn profile.

In 1995, Miller joined the International Finance Corp., the Washington-based investment arm of the World Bank Group, where he worked for nine years. He co-wrote an IFC publication encouraging “public consultation” and worked to establish ties to environmental and human rights groups.

Miller joined Citigroup in 2004 as the bank moved to implement the Equator Principles.

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