Digital Banking

Citi Nabs JPMorgan Exec To Lead Its Tech Operations

Citigroup announced on Tuesday (Aug. 16) it has tapped Gavin Michael, head of digital for consumer and community banking at JPMorgan, to lead technology for the company’s global consumer bank. Michael will replace Mark Torkos in the role. Torkos retired from Citigroup in July.

Michael is seen as a big get for Citigroup, given he was named 2016 Digital Banker of the Year by American Banker. According to a report, Citigroup said in an email statement that Michael will start Nov. 14 and will report to the chief executive officer of the company’s global consumer bank, Stephen Bird. Michael has a doctorate in computer science from Australian National University and, before JPMorgan, worked at Accenture Plc as chief technology innovation officer.

The move on the part of Citigroup to woo a top player in digital commerce comes at a time when banks are trying to lure younger customers who are way more comfortable with technology than their older peers. Their comfort with technology is the reason so many FinTech startups have come on the scene offering the ability to pay for things, manage their money and even invest without having to rely on one of the traditional banks. Banks have been debating whether they should build their FinTech offerings in-house or partner with some of the startups that have been getting a lot of attention, both from customers and investors. Financial firms seem to be doing a little of both, partnering when it makes sense and building it on their own in other instances. Either way, they are recognizing that digital banking is the wave of the future and don’t want to miss the boat.

The move on the part of Citigroup comes less than a week after the company said Heather Cox, hired two years ago to run innovations in digital consumer banking, left to join USAA.

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