Citigroup Looks to Fill New Chief Marketing Role for Consumer Division

Battered During Financial Meltdown, Bank Looks to Create a More 'Customer-Led Organization'

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NEW YORK ( -- At a time when refurbishing brand image and restoring consumer trust is of critical importance for beleaguered financial-services marketers, Citigroup's North America Consumer Banking division has embarked on a search for a chief marketing officer.

The search, handled by executive-recruitment firm Spencer Stuart, is part of the division's initiative to create a so-called consumer-marketing office, a group that "will allow us to improve our customer experience and marketing effectiveness across North America Consumer Banking," said division CEO Terri Dial in an e-mail memo dated Aug. 27, and sent to all North America Consumer Banking employees. A company spokesperson declined to comment for this story.

"As we build a best-in-class North America Consumer Banking business, we have a significant and immediate opportunity to embrace a more client- and customer-centric approach across our product lines and delivery channels," Ms. Dial wrote in the memo. "In short, customers are asking us to serve them as one company, be simple and transparent in our approach to working with them, and put them at the heart of what we do. To help us make this transition to a more customer-led organization, I am pleased to announce the creation of the North America Consumer Marketing Office (CMO)."

The team "will leverage technology, the internet and mobile as key elements of our service model," she added.

As a whole, Citigroup's U.S. ad spending totaled $970.7 million in measured media in 2008, according to Advertising Age's Leading National Advertisers ranking. Competitors Bank of America Corp. and JPMorgan Chase & Co., meanwhile, spent about $1.7 billion and $1.4 billion, respectively.

The new CMO will lead the consumer marketing office and will report to Ms. Dial., who added that former Travelocity CEO Michelle Peluso is leading the consumer marketing office on an interim basis. Ms. Peluso did not return calls for comment.

Ms. Dial also cited additional appointments in the memo, including that of Liza Landsman, a nine-year Citi veteran who will lead the Internet and Mobile team, and Debra Coughlin, who previously headed up marketing and advertising efforts for Citi Cards and who will lead the North America Consumer Branding & Advertising team.

"I am extremely excited about this new organization, which I believe will help us fulfill our promise to become a shining example for our customers and help rebuild their trust and confidence in our business," Ms. Dial wrote.

Citi, of course, was responsible for one of the relatively few standout consumer advertising campaigns in the banking category, with its "Live Richly" work of the early part of this decade. Here's a Flickr group dedicated to the work. That campaign, from Fallon, eventually gave way to a focus on identity theft.

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