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Citigroup cutting 10% of workforce in CEO Fraser’s overhaul


Citigroup CEO Jane Fraser at the World Economic Forum in Davos, Switzerland, on Jan. 17, 2023.

Adam Galica | CNBC

Citigroup said it was cutting 10% of its workforce in a bid to help boost the embattled bank’s results and stock price.

About 20,000 employees will be let go over the “medium term,” New York-based Citigroup said Friday in a slideshow tied to fourth-quarter earnings. While it wasn’t immediately clear how long that is, the bank has previously used that term to denote a three- to five-year period.

Citigroup had roughly 200,000 workers at the end of 2023, excluding Mexican operations that are in the process of being spun out, according to the presentation.

Citigroup CEO Jane Fraser announced a sweeping overhaul of the third-largest U.S. bank by assets in September. The company has been left behind by peers since the 2008 financial crisis as Fraser’s predecessors couldn’t get a handle on expenses and is the lowest valued among the six biggest U.S. banks.

In November, CNBC reported that managers and consultants involved in the effort — known internally by the code name “Project Bora Bora” — discussed job cuts of 10% in several major businesses.

Next round of cuts

The company has since executed several waves of layoffs, beginning with the top layers of the bank, with another round of cuts set for Jan. 22, according to a person familiar with the matter. A Citigroup spokeswoman declined to comment.

American banks have been trimming jobs all throughout the past year, led by Wells Fargo and Goldman Sachs, to lower costs amid stagnant revenue. Citigroup had been a notable outlier, maintaining staffing levels at around 240,000 for all of 2023, including its Mexico operations.

Citigroup said Friday it booked a $780 million charge in the fourth quarter tied to Fraser’s restructuring project, and that it may post another $1 billion in severance and other expenses in 2024. The moves could help trim up to $2.5 billion in costs over time, the bank said.

Permanent vacation

In a footnote to its presentation, Citigroup said the 20,000 job cuts could be “slightly lower” if it chooses to use internal resources rather than outsource functions.

Given the outlook for thousands of more job cuts over the next few years, some Citigroup employees are using vacation time or mental health leave to search for their next position, said the person familiar with the matter, who declined to be identified speaking about personnel matters.

“People are looking aggressively,” the person said. “I know senior VPs who are on vacation now, but they’re never coming back.”

Five big banks cut a combined 20,000 jobs in 2023

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