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Citizens Financial CFO appointment closes open questions

The appointment of John Woods as CFO of Providence, R.I.-based Citizens Financial Group Inc. removes uncertainty for the superregional ahead of the new year, according to several analysts reports following the Dec. 14 announcement.

Woods joins from New York-based MUFG Americas Holdings Corp. and his appointment is effective Feb. 13, 2017. He fills a vacancy created by the departure of Eric Aboaf, who became CFO of State Street Corp. MUFG Americas appointed Johannes Worsoe, head of investment banking and markets, as his successor; he will also serve as CFO of MUFG Union Bank NA.

Removing uncertainty around this vacancy is a "net neutral" yet "important" announcement, wrote Evercore ISI analyst John Pancari in a Dec. 14 report.

Sandler O'Neill analyst R. Scott Siefers wrote in a Dec. 15 report that the appointment "ties up" one of Citizens' "very few loose ends." The vacancy had been filled by the once-retired John Fawcett during the search for a permanent hire, and Siefers pointed out that it took a "relatively short time" to fill the position. He wrote that Woods seems like a good fit with an appropriate background, having held numerous senior finance positions at large firms.

"His hiring fits with the track record that [Citizens] has developed of hiring seasoned professionals from larger institutions, for whom jumping to [Citizens] ultimately becomes a very smooth transition," he wrote.