Citigroup Inc plans to name John Havens as president and chief operating officer as part of a structural overhaul to address the bank's efforts to expand, the Wall Street Journal said.

The promotion of Havens, a longtime colleague of Chief Executive Vikram Pandit, will cut the number of executives reporting directly to Pandit by half from a current 18, the Journal said, citing people familiar with the matter.

The new lineup could also speed up decision making, the sources told the paper.

Havens, who has led Citi's institutional clients group for the past three years, can relieve Pandit of some front office responsibilities as the Citi chief emerges from crisis mode to focus on growth, the paper said.

The positions of president as well as chief operating officer had remained vacant.

Meanwhile, James Forese will gain greater authority over the institutional business in a promotion from his current role as co-head of global markets, according to the Journal.

Citigroup could not immediately be reached for comment by Reuters outside regular U.S. business hours.

(Reporting by Sakthi Prasad in Bangalore; Editing by Dhara Ranasinghe)