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Citi mobile payments head Chu quits for LivingSocial

02 December 2011  |  10442 views  |  0 strategy

Dickson Chu, the high profile and often outspoken head of digital and mobile networks at Citi, has quit the bank to join daily deals outfit LivingSocial.

Chu joined Citi from PayPal less than two years ago with a brief to kickstart the bank's mobile payments programme. Unusually for the conservative banking industry, Chu was prepared to speak his mind and was an unashamed advocate of the Google Wallet venture.

Citi is currently the sole banking partner for the search giant's mobile payments operation, which is straining to make a mark on the high street ahead of the forthcoming launch of a rival programme by the Isis carrier consortium.

Prior to joining Citi, Chu spent six years at PayPal, where he directed the group's mobile product strategy and development.

At LivingSocial he will serve as SVP for the company's Merchant Solutions division.

Tim O'Shaughnessy, CEO of LivingSocial, says: "Dickson brings a deep background in developing vital business services for merchants, and we believe he is the ideal leader for a new division within LivingSocial dedicated to the creation of the next generation of local merchant solutions."

Finextra verdict
After witnessing Chu's robust performance at a BAI Banking Strategies panel in October - Citi rounds on Isis, urges other banks to join Google Wallet - it was clear that he wasn't cut out for a long-time job in banking. While the other career bankers on the panel hemmed and hawed over the more difficult issues, Chu was unafraid to speak out, often prefacing his comments with lines like "As a banker I shouldn't be saying this, but..." or "I'm still learning what we can and cannot say as a bank".

His departures is not only a loss for Citi, but for the industry as a whole, which needs more people who are prepared to stick their necks out and think the unthinkable as the financial services business is refashioned by new digital technologies and increasingly challenged by new entrants and more nimble start ups.
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