Sunday, October 21, 2012

Citigroup Inc. (NYSE:C): Tension between O’Neill and Pandit might have lead to the latter’s resignation

Citigroup Inc.(NYSE:C) welcomed Michael O’Neill as their chairman some time during the earlier part of this year, and he started off his job by visiting the departments such as the trading floors. He looked at the business lines along which the bank was running, and he made evaluations on what he saw, and whom he talked to. This, however, seemed to be a matter of contention between O’Neill, and the then-CEO, Vikram S. Pandit. The lack of understanding between the chairman and the Chief Executive Officer, as well as a disagreement with each other’s methods finally lead the company to ask Pandit to give in his resignation after having served Citigroup for five crucial years.
The former marine banker and career banker, O’Neill has a very stringent approach to matters of banking, and apparently, he did not agree with Pandit’s methods. The latter was replaced by Michael L. Corbat, who has been an executive in Citigroup for a very long time. This replacement took place on Tuesday, as per the decision of board members, including O’Neill.
Sources say that there had been tension brewing between Pandit and the new chairman, and this had been going on for quite a few months. These issues had flared up over public missteps concerning the regulators and the shareholders. Also, there was the feeling that Pandit was not trying to cut costs fast enough for the satisfaction of the board members, and O’Neill. However, it is not like Mr. Pandit’s contribution to Citigroup has gone unnoticed. O’Neill said on Wednesday, during an interview, that Pandit’s contribution to the bank has been enormous. He rescued the bank during times of extreme economical crisis, and he turned the place around within five years. When he had joined, the bank had been decrepit, and he made the impossible possible by turning Citigroup into what it is today. O’Neill conceded to the fact that Pandit’s contribution to the bank has been remarkable.
However, he believes that it was time for a change, and that Pandit was not fit to deal with the present economic scenario. He also added that he had simply been doing his job of reporting what he thought should be altered or changed. 

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