Magazine article American Banker

Roundtable Picks Citi Veteran to Lead Technology Secretariat

Magazine article American Banker

Roundtable Picks Citi Veteran to Lead Technology Secretariat

Article excerpt

The Bankers Roundtable said it has named former Citicorp executive Catherine A. Allen chief executive officer of its electronic strategy offshoot, the Banking Industry Technology Secretariat.

Effective April 15, Ms. Allen takes on the sensitive but high-profile assignment of promoting a central role for banks in the planning and evolution of payment systems.

Her appointment was ratified unanimously last week by the Roundtable and Secretariat boards, ending a search that began last fall and was said to have cast a wide net among senior-level bankers and technologists inside and outside the industry.

"We worked long and hard on this," said Anthony Cluff, executive director of the Washington-based Roundtable, who was devoting part-time attention to the unit known as Bits.

"We did the best we could" without a CEO, he said. "Now we can focus on it and push it forward full-time. Cathy is very enthusiastic, has tremendous energy and great ideas."

Ms. Allen said she will hit the ground running, assembling a staff of six or seven while also drawing on the Roundtable's resources. An immediate task will be to pore through the 72 responses to a recent request for information about creating a real-time electronic payment system.

Ms. Allen, 50, came to prominence between 1992 and 1995 when as a vice president in the Citicorp technology office, she organized the Smart Card Forum and served as its first chairman. It got past suspicions about Citicorp's motives to become an influenti al, international body of more than 200 members that cross industry lines and share common goals on smart card deployment.

"She has the ability to create and articulate a shared vision that transcends competitive issues," said William Barr of Bellcore, who helped Ms. Allen get the forum off the ground. "You can't overcome those issues, but you can understand what is infrastru cture and should be shared. …

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