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Whom Should Pandit Thank for “Resignation?”

Posted by Larry Doyle on October 16, 2012 3:29 PM |

Speculation is running rampant as to whether Citigroup’s Vikram Pandit voluntarily resigned this morning or was pushed off the ledge?

It defies logic to think that Pandit and his sidekick John Havens decided that it was simply time to turn the keys to the store over to new leaders. I also do not think for a second that these “resignations” were the result of a clash with the board over Citi’s strategy and performance.

Then what prompted these seismic shifts within the executive offices of Citigroup? 

Whom should Pandit and Havens thank for opening the elevator and throwing them down the shaft? In my humble opinion, these masters of the universe should look no further than former FDIC head Sheila Bair.

Recall how just recently, Ms. Bair had this to say about Mr. Pandit in the release of her book Bull By the Horns, as highlighted at The New York Observer,

“Pandit was the CEO of Citigroup, which had earlier bollixed its own attempt to buy Wachovia,” “there was bitterness in his eyes,” “Pandit looked nervous, and no wonder,” “I thought Pandit had been a poor choice,” “he was a hedge fund manager by occupation and one with a mixed record,” “he had no experience as a commercial banker,” “no private investor was likely to invest in Pandit’s bank,” “wouldn’t have known how to underwrite a loan if his life depended on it,” “I was particularly concerned about Citi’s CEO, Vikram Pandit,” “Citi’s management performance during the crisis had not been impressive,” “they had a difficult time making decisions and then executing once the decisions were made,” “couldn’t we at least bring in an experienced commercial banker to run the place?” “I doubted that many senior commercial bankers would be willing to work for Vikram, given his weak reputation,” “he was also boasting that at some point it would start paying dividends again. We had laughed those stories off as delusional.”

After commentary like that from a former FDIC chair, any board looking to maintain a measure of respect and dignity had little room to do anything else than find new leadership.

Three weeks is about the right amount of time to “execute” this changing of the guard.

Larry Doyle

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I have no affiliation or business interest with any entity referenced in this commentary. The opinions expressed are my own. I am a proponent of real transparency within our markets so that investor confidence and investor protection can be achieved.

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