Citi appoints new banking & wealth head, and compliance chief

Gofran Chowdhury Citi Appointment

Citi Australia has promoted within, appointing Gofran Chowdhury as its new chief of banking and wealth management. Sarah Stewart has also been announced as Citi’s next managing director and chief country compliance officer for Australia and New Zealand.

As of this month, Chowdhury leads the sales and distribution arms of Citi’s banking and wealth division, as well as overseeing its high net worth unit, mortgage distribution and specialist teams.

He replaces David Zammit, who left Citi at the end of May to take on a new role as general manager of distribution at brokerage firm Mortgage Choice.

Newly minted compliance chief Sarah Stewart takes over from James Davies, who recently made the move to Citi’s Hong Kong unit, appointed regional compliance chief for its institutional business.

Stewart joins Citi from Tabcorp, serving four years as general manager – risk and compliance for the gaming and betting giant. She is no stranger to financial services, however, having previously served as division director – compliance global business lead at Macquarie for six years.

In her new role, Stewart will oversee the bank’s compliance function across both institution and consumer arms. She will also join Citi Australia and New Zealand’s Executive Committee and regional Independent Compliance Risk Management Operating Committee.

Citi Australia chief executive Marc Luet, said he was “[pleased] to be able to appoint a business leader with Sarah’s significant risk and compliance experience to this critical role. Sarah’s diverse experience and leadership skills will be an important asset to Citi Australia.”

A 10-year veteran of Citi, Gofran Chowdhury served across a number of senior positions within Citi’s wealth division, most recently overseeing the bank’s wealth management business in Australia as head of investment specialists.

Commenting on the appointment, Citi’s head of retail banking, Kate Luft, praised Chowdhury’s “breadth of experience across different facets of the business”, which will be “instrumental” to driving the business’s strategic approach to growth.

“It’s an exciting time to take on this role, as Citi is poised for growth across its wealth management and mortgage business,” Chowdhury said.

“In these challenging times, I will ensure our clients are supported as they navigate the pandemic and have market-leading access to competitive products and insight.”

Chowdhury will no doubt have his work cut out for him in the lending space, with Citi losing some ground to majors during the height of Covid downturn. Citi’s share of mortgage lodgements fell to just 0.3 per cent (down from 1.9 per cent) in the March quarter.