Wachovia names new head of e-commerce

Wachovia Corp. on Monday picked a banking veteran from Citigroup Inc. to head its e-commerce division.

Sridhar Chityala, 50, will report to marketing head Ranjana Clark and will be responsible for the direction of the company's Internet, intranet and mobile channels. He said he was drawn by the opportunity to work for both consumer and corporate clients.

Chityala said he'll be looking for new banking-related uses for cell phones and social networking sites. Wachovia already lets customers view their accounts and transfer funds via cell phone. Also, the bank recently overhauled its company intranet and created an employee directory that's a lot like a social networking site. But “on the whole customer side, what we want to do with social networking is still on the drawing board,” Chityala said.

Chityala also said he will be examining Near Field Communication (NFC) technology, which allows customers to load their credit-card information onto their cell phones and use the phones to pay for purchases. He will launch an intranet blog next week to keep employees up to speed on all the changes.

Chityala comes to Wachovia from Citi Cards, where he ran the telecommunications business unit. He was responsible for the company's partnership with AT&T, its mobile services for credit cards and its contactless credit cards, which allow customers to wave their cards in front of data readers rather than swipe them or hand them to a clerk.

Before that, Chityala held senior e-business positions at JPMorgan Chase & Co. While there, in 2002, he ran the first trial for contactless credit cards, he said.

Chityala, a native of India, holds a master's degree in computer science from the Indian Institute of Technology in Bombay and a Graduate Management Qualification from the Australian Graduate School of Management. He also attended the Advanced Management Program at Stanford University's business school.

Chityala replaces Gloria Chance, who left the position earlier this year.