Wunderkind Marty Lippert is gone from Citi "for personal reasons," according to a Citi memo announcing the immediate departure of the ailing bank's CIO. The memo, reprinted a few days ago on the Website of CIO magazine, was not the subject of an official press release.Lippert, who has gone back to Canada from whence he came last July, could never have envisioned the turn things would take at Citi in a matter of months, among them: a $300-billion plus bailout; a 20 percent cut in staff; and the specter of what was once the world's biggest bank being nationalized. Perhaps Citi's stricken state explains why the departure of the highly regarded Lippert provoked no apparent comment and did not rank among the more popular stories of 'CIO' magazine's web site. Two months into his CIO tenure at Citi, Lippert was promoted to just one degree of separation from CEO Vikram Pandit. One month later, in October, The World Economic Forum downgraded U.S. banks collectively to 24th place after those in minor nations, such as Namibia, while valuing Canadian banks as the soundest in the world. Not much consolation for Lippert, who had left Canada's biggest bank and corporation, the Royal Bank of Canada, for Citi. Lippert was group head of global technology and operations at RBC. Citi CAO Don Callahan said that he will serve as the interim head of operations and technology effective immediately as Citi searches for Lippert's replacement. The Citi CIO slot seems only slightly more enviable than the one President Obama stepped into. BS&T contributor, consultant Art Gillis turns out to have been partly prescient in his recent blog suggesting that the CIOs of the top four banks would "be gone before the traditional three-year tour of duty is up". In hitting one nail on the head, Gillis gave as one reason for his prediction that the CIOs would leave, "because they won't have the funding to invest in "bigger than big."
Citi said mid-March that is back on the road to profitability, but not all are convinced.