Citi Chairman Is Said to Have Planned Chief’s Exit Over Months
By JESSICA SILVER-GREENBERG and SUSANNE CRAIG, The New York Times
Published: October 25, 2012
Mr. Pandit, the chief executive of Citigroup, was told three news releases were ready. One stated that Mr. Pandit had resigned, effective immediately. Another that he would resign, effective at the end of the year. The third release stated Mr. Pandit had been fired without cause. The choice was his.
The abrupt encounter, described by three people briefed on the conversation, included a terse comment by the chairman, Michael E. O’Neill: “The board has lost confidence in you.”
As Mr. Pandit was reeling from his encounter, three board members confronted John Havens, the bank’s chief operating officer and a longtime lieutenant.
“Vikram has offered his resignation, and we would like to give you the opportunity to offer yours,” a board member said, following a script prepared by the board’s lawyers, according to several people with knowledge of the meeting.
This week, senior executives at the investment bank convened a group of employees to try to stem any exodus, according to several people briefed on the meeting. Among the employees’ questions: why remain at a bank that treated its top executive so harshly?
Messy Breakup Ends Citi’s Rocky Relationship With Vikram Pandit
By Matt Egan, FOXBusiness
Published October 16, 2012
“I’m surprised he lasted as long as he did,” said Charles Geisst, a professor at Manhattan College.
Shareholders clearly were not happy with Citi’s financial performance as its shares had plunged almost 90% since Pandit became CEO in December 2007. By comparison, shares of J.P. Morgan Chase (JPM) and the Dow Jones Industrial Average are down own 8% and less than 1% respectively over that span.
There’s a long list of setbacks on Pandit’s watch, including most recently a $4.7 billion charge tied to an overvaluation of Citi’s stake in the Smith Barney joint venture, which it is selling off in pieces to Morgan Stanley (MS). Citi had pegged the JV’s price tag at $22 billion, well north of an eventual settlement at $13.5 billion.
Also, Pandit and Citigroup were embarrassed in March after the Federal Reserve gave the bank’s plan to return capital to shareholders a red light, leading some to say it had failed the government’s stress tests.
“The corporate governance, whether it’s been in the last few years or the last few hours, has been awful,” said (Citigroup analyst at Credit Agricole) Mayo.
Citigroup Pays Fine and Fires Star Technology Analyst
By BEN PROTESS, The New York Times
October 26, 2012, 11:41 am
Citigroup paid a $2 million fine and fired a prominent technology analyst after authorities accused the bank of improperly leaking to the media unpublished information about YouTube and confidential research on Facebook’s initial public offering.
In May, the junior Citigroup analyst e-mailed two TechCrunch employees to say “I am ramping up coverage of FB and thought you guys might like to see how the street is thinking about it (and our estimates).” He attached a “Facebook one pager,” that featured an array of confidential information, including Mr. Mahaney’s private revenue estimates meant as an internal guide for the bank’s analysts.
Under securities rules and a nondisclosure agreement with Facebook, Citigroup analysts were banned from “disseminating written research” about the social networking giant until 40 days after the I.P.O. The restriction, which applied to all banks that helped take Facebook public in May, was created to prevent research analysts from improperly promoting companies in a bid to drum up business for bankers.
The rules were reinforced in a landmark 2003 settlement with several banks, including Citigroup. The case, led by a former New York attorney general, Eliot Spitzer, built a Chinese wall between Wall Street research analysts and investment bankers.
Don’t steal any paperclips Vikram.