Q&A: Barbara Hammel, Strategy and New Programs, Citigroup

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"Each experience has added to my portfolio of transferable skills, enabling me to move across fields and traverse diverse disciplines and industries. "

Could you describe your career path?

I began my career as a product/brand manager at Kraft General Foods. In the 80s, I joined Citibank as a vice president in consumer marketing, where I lead the development, marketing and advertising of new and insurance and financial products. I then went on to form Hillcrest Associates, a management and strategic consultancy. I spent two years at Ch1 Communications, a digital media firm. As vice president of marketing, I was responsible for business development and strategic marketing. I returned to Citigroup in 2001 as director and global product head of Investor Internet Solutions.

As managing director of Strategy and New Programs within global custody, my primary responsibilities include the creation and management of innovative, cross-functional programs and the development of strategic vision for franchise initiatives.

Each experience has added to my portfolio of transferable skills, enabling me to move across fields and traverse diverse disciplines and industries.

What's a typical day like?

A typical day is comprised of strategic and business discussions with global custody colleagues and clients from around the globe. It may begin with a weekly management conference call with my peers in various regions, focusing on opportunities to tap trends in emerging markets or find new solutions for the needs of our clients. A team meeting would usually follow, to inform the virtual global team of key events and programs discussed. The rest of the day could be spent on strategic initiatives and broader communication efforts.

How has global custody changed in recent years?

Global custody has a fast-paced and rapidly changing business environment. The consolidation of industry players has heightened the competitive landscape and has also increased the focus of product excellence, innovation and best of class client service. In addition, the growth of investment vehicles in emerging markets has expanded opportunities for global custody products and services. The impact is that strategic insight and expertise to develop new programs for investors to respond to these changes is critical to business success.

Do you have any advice for future global custody managers?

For someone looking to excel in global custody, good communication and analytic skills are a must. Also, it's necessary to have the ability to think strategically and effectively manage projects with virtual global teams. Successful candidates should have an interest in securities and the investor marketplace, and have a self-motivated, "can-do" attitude. Potential applicants should keep abreast of industry news, monitor market changes and participate in industry associations.

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