Citigroup boosts trade finance team

The bank poaches Standard Chartered''s commodity finance head and creates a new SME client management role.

Citigroup has boosted its trade finance team with the announcement of two new appointments. Seshan Chathapuram has been lured from Standard Chartered to head commodity trade finance and Lirranna Sun has been promoted internally to become commercial banking trade group head. Both positions report to Andrew Au, Citigroup's head of trade for Asia.

Au says the appointments are designed to expand the bank's trade capabilities in the region and sharpen its focus on the SME (small to medium enterprise) client segment.

Chathapuram will have responsibility for building Citigroup's commodity finance business, working with the country offices and the global product group to develop programs and structures that capitalize on commodity trade flows in Asia.

Chathapuram has 27 years of banking experience, with the last 14 years in commodity trade finance specializing in the full range of commodities - soft, energy and metals. He joins from Standard Chartered where he was head of commodity finance and will be based in Singapore.

Sun has been promoted to a newly created position as commercial banking group trade head for Asia Pacific. "This new position has been created to ensure continuous focus on cross-selling trade products to our commercial banking group (SME) customers," says Au. "Lirranna will be responsible for making sure that our products/services cater to the needs of the SME customer base. She will also play an active role in building the bank's Greater China trade initiative to capture a greater share of the trade flows in this rapidly growing market."

Prior to the promotion, Sun was a senior credit reviewer for the bank's regional audit group where she was responsible for asset based financing and SME businesses in Asia. She joined Citigroup in 1997 after a 10-year career focused on credit and relationship management with the SME sector.