Citigroup set to announce first big round of lay-offs


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Citigroup plans to announce on Monday the first big round of lay-offs in a sweeping restructuring — the bank’s biggest revamp in nearly two decades — that will eventually result in thousands of positions being eliminated.

The restructuring, codenamed Project Bora Bora, is in its early stages, people close to the plans said. Citi, which is doing a top-down review of its organisational structure, has only worked through about 1 per cent of the positions at the bank, or about 2,400 jobs out of a total of 240,000. It is not clear how many positions will be cut in this round.

Last month, Citi said the previous two rounds of job reviews, which only affected roughly 200 positions, resulted in a 15 per cent reduction of roles, and eliminated 60 operating committees.

Chief executive Jane Fraser, who unveiled the restructuring in September, had previously told staffers that the bank expected to be finished with the restructuring and resulting lay-offs by the end of March 2024. Fraser named her direct reports at the time of the initial announcement, and those executives have previously announced the hundred or so people who will run the bank’s various lines of business.

On Monday, the heads of those different business units are expected to tell their staff in Citi’s New York headquarters and elsewhere who will fill the next layers of leadership. Many of the people being assigned jobs in this round will already be in those roles, though some shuffling of positions around the bank is expected, one person familiar with the plans said.

Individuals in jobs that have been eliminated, or who have not been assigned a role at their current level of management, will be given a transition period in which they can apply for other positions at Citi. At the end of that period, the bank will provide employees who have not been appointed to new roles with details of their severance packages.

Citi declined to comment.

Citi staffers say they have been given very little information on the process, beyond a town-hall meeting Fraser led soon after announcing the restructuring. Many employees have said they welcomed the changes, though some are frustrated with the pace of the process, and the fact that the bank has yet to announce a cost reduction goal or how many jobs would be cut.

Fraser has emphasised that the restructuring is about improving the operations and efficiency of the bank, which many say has long been plagued by its “matrix” management structure, and not purely about cost-cutting. Citi is hoping the restructuring will revive its stock price, which has been the sector’s worst performer, and improve the bank’s lagging returns. Its return on equity rose slightly in its most recent quarter to nearly 8 per cent, but still lags behind most of its rivals.

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