Vikram Pandit Front-Runner for Top Job at Citigroup

Vikram Pandit is the favorite to be named as CEO of struggling financial giant Citigroup.

Reporting that Citigroup would name a CEO soon, the Wall Street Journal (subscription required) said in its Saturday edition:

The front-runner is Vikram Pandit, who currently oversees Citigroup’s investment bank and alternative-investments businesses, the people said. That would fill the CEO job — vacated on Nov. 4 by Charles Prince amid mounting mortgage-related losses — with a solid risk manager, though one who lacks consumer-banking experience and hasn’t been at the bank even six months.

Citigroup Chairman and former U.S. Treasury Secretary Robert Rubin is also said to be leaning towards Vikram Pandit. 

Vikram is not a Citigroup veteran having joined Citi only in April 2007 when the bank acquired his multi-strategy hedge fund and private equity fund manager Old Lane for $800 million.

At the time of acquisition, Old Lane had $4.5 billion under management and private equity commitments.

Reports suggest that Old Lane’s returns for the year are less than stellar and are only about 3%, compared to the average hedge fund’s roughly 10% gain.
We do not believe Vikram Pandit has the necessary skill set to run a financial behemoth that has 300,000 employees and operations in over 100 countries. Besides not having consumer banking experience, Vikram has also never headed a public company.

But then nobody called us for our advice.

Before forming Old Lane, Vikram Pandit was President and COO of Morgan Stanley’s institutional securities and investment banking business and a member of the firm’s Management Committee.

Vikram Pandit has impressive academic credentials though – a PhD in Finance from Columbia University as well as MS degree and a BS degree in electrical engineering from the same university.

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