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The 2017 Tech 40: Don Callahan

  • By Peter Vasiliev

9. Don Callahan
Head of Operations and Technology
Citigroup
Last year: PNR

The historical timeline of Citigroup and its predecessors dates back to 1812. The 20th-century part of it includes industry firsts in wholesale banking (international branch openings and the negotiable certificate of deposit); operations (large-scale back-office re-engineering); and consumer services (mass distribution of both credit cards and automated teller machines). The idea that "innovation is part of our DNA," as Don Callahan says, has deep resonance at Citigroup. How the $1.8 trillion-in-assets bank has organized for the 21st century's rapid technological acceleration — its opportunities and risks — is reflected in Callahan's responsibilities. The 61-year-old head of operations and technology is also executive chair of the chief information officer council, which sets companywide technology standards, and chair of the digital governance office, which is charged with driving digital transformation across the businesses. He oversees Citigroup's global information security strategy and is a member of the growth board, whose assignment is to accelerate innovation efforts. "We are going through a digital transformation, rewiring our systems and our culture to move fast and think in an agile way," says Callahan, who before joining Citigroup in 2000 held executive positions with IBM, Morgan Stanley, and Credit Suisse. He reports to Citigroup CEO Michael Corbat.

The Citi Ventures investment arm is part of a three-pronged strategic innovation force within the bank, helping to identify, develop, and test new ideas with potential business and cultural impact. The other parts are a network of eight innovation labs and an emerging-technology team. Together they analyze more than 2,000 companies annually, selecting a handful for investment, adoption, piloting, and production. Citigroup's consumer bank has a "mobile first" focus, Callahan notes. The Citi Mobile App for iPhone was built using an agile operating model and rapid prototyping. Within its institutional business, the bank last year introduced MobilePASS, a virtual token for secure login to the CitiDirect BE global transaction platform, CitiDirect BE Mobile, and the CitiDirect BE Tablet. Client transaction value on the latter two jumped to $1.8 trillion in 2016, from $552 billion the year before. "The biggest game-changer for our industry is data, and we see it as a competitive advantage," Callahan says.


The 2017 Tech 40
1. Adena Friedman
NASDAQ
2. Catherine Bessant
Bank of
America Corp.
3. Robert Goldstein
BlackRock
4. Jeffrey Sprecher
Intercontinental Exchange
5. Lance Uggla
IHS Markit
6. Shawn Edwards & Vlad Kliatchko
Bloomberg
7. David Craig
Thomson Reuters
8. Michael Spencer
NEX Group
9. Don Callahan
Citigroup
10. Elisha Wiesel
Goldman Sachs Group
11. Michael Bodson
Depository Trust & Clearing Corp.
12. Terrence Duffy
CME Group
13. Charles Li
Hong Kong Exchanges and Clearing
14. Sean Belka
Fidelity Investments
15. Chris Concannon
CBOE Holdings
16. Guy Chiarello
First Data Corp.
17. Steven Lieblich
Citadel
18. David Rutter
R3CEV
19. Blythe Masters
Digital Asset Holdings
20. Alfred Spector
Two Sigma Investments
21. Neil Katz
D.E. Shaw Group
22. Lee Olesky
Tradeweb Markets
23. Richard McVey
MarketAxess Holdings
24. David Gledhill
DBS Bank
25. Seth Merrin
Liquidnet Holdings
26. Antoine Shagoury
State Street Corp.
27. Peter Brown &
Robert Mercer
Renaissance Technologies
28. Lou Eccleston
TMX Group
29. Peter Cherecwich
Northern Trust Corp.
30. Mike Chinn
S&P Global Market Intelligence
31. Chris Corrado
London Stock Exchange Group
32. Neal Pawar
AQR Capital Management
33. Gary Norcross
Fidelity National Information Services
34. Steven O'Hanlon
Numerix
35. Sebastián Ceria
Axioma
36. Brian Conlon
First Derivatives and Kx Systems
37. Tyler Kim
MaplesFS
38. Michael Cooper
BT Radianz
39. Robert Schifellite
Broadridge Financial Solutions
40. Jim Minnick
eVestment

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