Roberto Hiriart, senior human resource officer for Citi’s global consumer group, will retire July 11, according to spokesman Luis Rosero. Instead of dividing his responsibilities among Citigroup’s global HR team, the company is creating a new HR position to oversee the 38,000 employees in its North American consumer banking division.
The new HR officer, which Citigroup is looking to hire, will focus on training and development—particularly for the 200 senior employees within the division. Citigroup is hoping to hire an executive with 20 years of experience.
Citigroup decided to create a new position for the North America consumer banking division because it saw an opportunity, Rosero said. “We are constantly looking at how we can properly align our businesses,” he said.
Hiriart’s international responsibilities will be spread among Citi’s global HR team.
Industry observers said it’s a good sign that Citigroup appears to be focusing on developing employees in those areas of the business where it sees growth potential.
“It’s not unusual for companies to look at how they can enhance their employees’ skills and career opportunities within the organization during a bad economy,” said Melissa Brophy, a principal with Maximum Management Corp., a New York-based HR recruiter.
Citigroup has been hit hard by the credit crisis. The bank has posted $15 billion in losses in the past two quarters and announced plans to eliminate 9,000 jobs. And many believe more layoffs within the company’s global investment banking division are coming.
But the fact that Citigroup isn’t taking Hiriart’s duties and dispersing them to its HR staff means the bank is keeping its focus on growing the business and developing its people, said Gary Rich, a New York-based leadership development consultant.
“Citigroup has hundreds of thousands of employees that continue to need development,” Rich said. “So even if part of their business is contracting, there is still a large part of the business that is continuing as business as usual.”