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Pandit Tapped for Citi's CEO Slot

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Citigroup says Vikram Pandit, 50, is the company’s new chief executive officer and member of the board of directors, effective December 11, 2007. Sir Win Bischoff, who has been acting CEO since November 4, 2007, succeeds Chairman Robert E. Rubin, who returns to his previous duties as a member of the board of directors and chairman of the board’s executive committee.

“Vikram has earned a reputation as one of the most respected leaders in the financial services industry,” shares Rubin. “The combination of his deep executive experience and long history as a strategic thinker makes him the outstanding choice to be Citi’s CEO.”

Pandit was most recently chairman and CEO of Citi’s institutional clients group, which comprises Citi markets and banking and Citi alternative investments. Previously, he was a founding member and chairman of Old Lane, LP, a multi-strategy hedge fund and private equity fund manager acquired by Citi in 2007. Prior to founding Old Lane, Pandit held a number of senior positions at Morgan Stanley over more than two decades.

Sir Win, 66, served as chairman of Schroders PLC before joining Citi in 2000, with the acquisition of Schroders’ investment banking business by a Citi predecessor company. Most recently, he chaired Citi’s businesses in Europe, the Middle East and Africa.

“I will work closely with Win, Bob and Citi’s Board and management to assure that our strategy, structure, scale and diversification position the company for growth,” says Pandit. “Simplifying the company’s organizational structure and aligning our businesses and resources with appropriate goals and economic realities will be among our initial priorities.”

Former Chairman and CEO Charles Prince left the firm in early November 2007. In early December, reports circulated that Deutsche Bank CEO Josef Ackermann declined a chance at the top slot. Another Citigroup exec supposedly in the running was CFO Gary Crittendon, previously with American Express. Crittendon joined Citi in early 2007.

In mid-November, the firm tapped 30-year company veteran Jorge A. Bermudez to serve as its chief risk officer. In addition, Citi — which has announced write downs of up to $11 billion — says it formed an advisory committee of senior leaders to strengthen its risk-management processes.

Bermudez replaces Dave Bushnell, formerly chief administrative officer and chief risk officer, who retired on December 31 but remains a consultant.

Given the scope of financial issues facing it, experts say, the company could move quickly in terms of layoffs, and it also has other opportunities for improvement. “It may reduce employment by 20,000 people over the next few years,” says analyst Richard Bove of Punk, Ziegel & Company. “This will benefit earnings … [and] the numerous programs put in place by the prior CEO are likely to offer revenue benefits. They should start adding to earnings. In sum, the company has the equity, its dividend is safe, and it is in the process of improving its earnings power.”

Janet Levaux is the managing editor of Research; reach her at [email protected].


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