Former Citicorp chief and IT visionary Wriston dies at 85

Former Citicorp chief and IT visionary Wriston dies at 85

Walter Wriston, the banker credited with turning Citicorp into an information technology powerhouse, has died at the age of 85.

A career banker at the New York moneycentre bank, Wriston led Citicorp for 17 years between 1967 and 1984 serving as both chairman and CEO. During his tenure, he more than doubled the bank's size by expanding overseas and tranforming its product lines, creating a vast financial supermarket powered by a new wave of technology, from mainframe accouting systems to automated teller machines.

"Information about money," he is noted for saying. "Has become as important as money itself."

He remained active in retirment, dabbling in the stock market and publishing two books, including an information economy bible 'The Twilight of Sovereignty: How the Information Revolution Is Transforming Our World'.

In an interview with Red Herring Magazine in 1998, Wriston recalled the early days at Citicorp and how technology had transformed the business.

"When I came into the business, Citibank had a few hand-cranked adding machines, and the general ledger was hand posted," he said. "It would have been impossible to consolidate bookkeeping and cost accounting operations. I'd say technology permits consolidation, but I don't think it necessarily drives it."

Earlier this year, Wriston received the US Presidential Medal of Freedom.

He is survived by his second wife, Kathryn, whom he married after his first wife, Barbara, died in 1966; his daughter Catherine from his first marriage, and two grandchildren.

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