Yet another Indian banker makes it to the top and this time it’s from the temple city of Madurai. Citigroup has elevated Anand Selvakesari as Chief Operating Officer (COO), according to an internal memo circulated on Tuesday.

Anand Selva, as he is popularly called, currently is the CEO of personal banking and wealth management and will take on the additional role of COO. He would replace Karen Peetz, the chief administrative officer.

In the new role, Selva would be tasked with overseeing the transformation programme currently underway at the group.

“It’s an exciting time to be at Citi as we work to build a modern, simpler and more efficient bank,” said Selva. “As COO, I will remain laser focused on our transformation efforts to enhance our safety and soundness, improve client experience and drive digital innovation. I’m truly honoured to play such a meaningful role in driving significant change for our firm and the clients we serve, in addition to my current responsibilities as CEO of Personal Banking & Wealth Management,” he added.

“There couldn’t have been a better person for this role,” said a former Citi bank senior executive who had worked with Selva in his four-year stint in India. His peers and contemporaries call him a retail banker at heart and core. “His eye for details and diligence is exemplary. He won’t implement anything, even the smallest change, without adequate trails and testing,” said a former business head of Citibank India.

Key strategies

Deputed to India in 2011, after success rehaul of retail operations in China, Selva had to rebuild the bank’s presence, particularly in the credit cards segment where Citi was losing ground to private banks who were just beginning to up their game. Partnerships and co-branded cards were among his strategies to win back the lost market share. From India, he went to Singapore to head the Asia Pacific consumer banking business and eventually to Citigroup’s headquarters at New York. In 2021, he took charge from Jane Frazer (CEO, Citigroup) as CEO of global consumer banking.

A Citi veteran, as he is known, Selva graduated as a mechanical engineer and has a master’s in business administration. He started his career with the bank in 1991 and was part of the operations management team in Chennai. Selva hails from a well-known family in Madurai. Virakesari, a leading Tamil newspaper published in Sri Lanka was founded by his grandfather in 1930. “Only a  handful would know this about him, because he is very unassuming and has no ‘rich-boy’ traits,” said a senior executive at Citibank India.