Magner, Marjorie 1949–
Chairman and chief executive officer, Global Consumer Group, Citigroup
Education: Brooklyn College, BS, 1969; Krannert School of Management, Purdue University, MSIA (master of science in industrial administration), 1974.
Family: Children: one.
Career: Chemical Bank, 1974–1987, various positions including managing director of the chemical-technologies division at the time of her resignation; Citigroup (including predecessor company Commercial Credit, later known as CitiFinancial), 1987–2003, various positions; 2003–, chairman and CEO of Global Consumer Group.
Awards: Helen Keller Achievement Award, American Foundation for the Blind, 2001; named one of Fortune magazine's 50 Most Powerful Women, 2000–2003; named one of US Banker magazine's 25 Most Powerful Women in Banking, 2003; awarded honorary doctor of management degree, Purdue University, 2004.
■ Marjorie Magner was promoted to chairman and chief executive officer (CEO) of Citigroup's highly profitable Global Consumer Group in August 2003 after almost two decades with Citigroup, the New York financial-services giant that emerged from the merger of the Travelers Group and Citicorp in 1998. She served as the Global Consumer Group's chief operating officer (COO) from April 2002 until her promotion. Under her leadership the organization, including retail banking, credit cards, and consumer finance, generated more than half of Citigroup's revenue during the first two quarters of 2003. Including her employment at Commercial Credit, a predecessor company, Magner had been with Citigroup since 1987. Associates depicted her as a personable leader whose drive, enthusiasm, and passion were tempered by a low-key personality.
Following her graduation from the Krannert School of Management at Purdue University in 1974, Magner joined the Chemical Bank operations division, where her business-focused master's degree made her unique in a work environment dominated by men. Even though her gender was notable, and sometimes an issue, she forged ahead. When she was excluded from meetings held by male coworkers, she showed up without an invitation. "It was very brazen and I wasn't a particularly brazen person in those days. But I would show up and say, 'I know you forgot to tell me about this meeting, but it's okay. I'm here now, let's start.' They didn't do it much after that," she was quoted as saying (US Banker, October 2003). By the time she left Chemical she was managing director of the chemical-technologies division.
MOVES TO CITIGROUP
Magner started her Citigroup career at Commercial Credit, a forerunner of Citigroup, in 1987. Her move followed that of her Chemical Bank mentor, Robert Willumstad, who was a vice president when she started at Chemical. In addition to their common work experience, the two shared Brooklyn roots. Magner told the New York Daily News that "People from Brooklyn are a little scrappy. It's a hard working community with high expectations" (August 7, 2003). Her responsibilities steadily increased; she served as president, CEO, and then chairman of CitiFinancial, the successor company to Commercial Credit. In 2000 she became head of Citigroup's Primerica Financial Services and Citibanking North America, and by 2002 she had been named COO of the Global Consumer Group.
In August 2003 Magner was promoted to chairman and CEO of the Global Consumer Group, reporting to Bob Willumstad. She had earned the respect of Citigroup Chairman and CEO Sandy Weill, who praised her for her skills in acquisitions and consolidations, a key Citigroup business strategy, and for her integrity. The appointment was part of Citigroup's succession plan for Weill, then in his early 70s. At the time of her promotion, Magner's responsibilities included North American Retail Banking, the Global Retail Banking product, CitiFinancial North America, CitiCapital, and Women and Company, which offered professional women financial services tailored to their needs. Analysts praised her as a high-caliber leader with extensive Citigroup experience that equipped her well for the job. Analyst Ken Worthington of CIBC World Markets said that "She is one of the best operators this company has. She has a tremendous track record" (New York Daily News, August 7, 2003).
Magner, as described by associates and analysts at the time of her 2003 promotion, was a calm and steady executive who motivated her employees through high expectations and confidence in their abilities. Although Magner told US Banker that her management style was almost "boring" because it was so consistent (September 2003), one analyst commented that she was a "quality executive who knows the businesses very well" (American Banker, August 7, 2003).
Magner served on the board of trustees for Brooklyn College, and she was a member of the dean's advisory council of the Krannert School of Management at Purdue. She also supported Krannert by returning as a guest lecturer in the 2003 Purdue Old Masters program. She had previously been on the boards of directors for the Welfare to Work Partnership, Dress for Success Worldwide, Port Discovery Children's Museum (Maryland), and the Maryland Business Roundtable for Education.
See also entry on Citigroup Inc. in International Directory of Company Histories.
sources for further information
De Paula, Matthew, "#2 Marjorie Magner," US Banker, October 2003, p. 28.
Dunaief, Daniel, "Citi Shatters Glass Ceiling," New York Daily News, August 7, 2003.
"Hits and Has-Beens," US Banker, September 2003, p. 12.
Julavits, Robert, "Citi Veteran Takes Helm of Global Consumer Unit," American Banker, August 7, 2003, p. 2.
—S. E. Weigant