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Citigroup names former banking regulator to board

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July 24, 2009 09:08 AM EST | AP

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NEW YORK — Citigroup Inc. named three new outside directors Friday as the bank seeks to shift its focus back to traditional banking after it suffered a bruising hit from risky mortgage-backed securities.

The New York-based company installed four new independent board members earlier this year, but still faced criticism from shareholders that it was not enough change as many felt the board did not have enough commercial banking experience.

It hopes that Friday's naming of former banking regulator Diana Taylor, Timothy Collins and Robert Joss – which bring the board's total to 17 – will be enough to satisfy its critics. CEO Vikram Pandit, who has faced heavy scrutiny, is the only executive remaining on the expanded board.

Citigroup Chairman Richard Parsons said in a statement that the directors "each brings deep and valuable experience in various dimensions of financial services."

Citigroup, the third largest U.S. bank by assets, has been one of the most troubled banks throughout the financial crisis. Its board and management have faced sharp criticism for allowing the bank to make big investments in the risky housing market – actions that led to Citigroup reporting billions in losses. It has received $45 billion in government aid since last fall.

Aside from the board moves, earlier this month Citigroup made yet another top management shuffle, naming its third chief financial officer of the year and bringing in a new head of its Citibank division.

Taylor, former Superintendent of Banks for the New York State Banking Department, is a managing director of fund manager Wolfensohn Capital Partners. The 54-year-old, who is a companion of New York Mayor Michael Bloomberg, has also worked at companies including KeySpan Energy and Smith Barney. Collins, 52, serves as CEO of investment firm Ripplewood Holdings LLC and Joss, 68, is dean of Stanford University's Graduate School of Business. Joss previously served as CEO of Westpac Banking Corp. Ltd.

Shares of Citigroup rose 1 cent to $2.78 in premarket trading on Friday.