Citizens Financial taps seasoned fintech exec as CIO
- Citizens Financial Group named Michael Ruttledge as CIO effective Jan. 1, according to a company announcement.
- Ruttledge is serving as senior vice president of technology and as Unit CIO for marketing, advertising, brand management, information management and enterprise digital at American Express. He started at American Express more than 30 years ago as a systems and database engineer, according to his LinkedIn profile.
- Citizens' current CIO Brian O'Connell will stay on as an advisor during the transition. Ruttledge comes equipped with a background in fintech. His experiences include payments, merchant services, risk, fraud and executing analytics solutions and application modernization.
The financial industry carries a lot of burden in the digital space. It has to accommodate changes in consumer needs with digital services while maintaining an impenetrable security perimeter.
O'Connell served as CIO at Citizens since 2012, outperforming the average tenure of CIOs. CIOs who are not in the role long enough often don't get to see the fruit of their labor.
Ruttledge is coming on as CIO during a time of digital change for Citizens. New technology investments are on the horizon for the bank. "We are also leveraging enhanced data analytics and transformative technology such as AVIs, robotics and cloud" to streamline workloads and better customer experience, said CFO John Woods, during the company's Q3 2018 earnings call.
Since Q1 2018, the company has reduced onboarding times for new cash management clients by 60%, he said, in part from re-engineering processes and robotics.
Technology was top-of-mind for Citizens' executive leadership during the call. Companies in the financial space are looking at technology to improve processes and customer experiences.
JPMorgan Chase is experimenting with blockchain technologies and invented a blockchain with open code based on Ethereum under its CIO Lori Beer. But she said the application of blockchain is more important that the tech itself for the financial space.
Morgan Stanley's whopping $4 billion IT budget suggests the company isn't shy of advanced technology investments. However, CEO James Gorman has said the company has to decide when it's best to "[maintain] the ship" and when to invest in future tech.
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