Nov 22, 2008

Business - Citi may replace Pandit;report

Citigroup's board is considering firing its Chief Executive Vikram Pandit, who was appointed as CEO late last year to infuse confidence, as the banking giant finds itself searching for hope all over again.

Replacing Pandit - an enthusiastic defender of the company's existing mix of businesses - is one of the options being considered by Citi executives, along side selling all or part of the company, a public endorsement from the government or a new financial lifeline to stabilise the banking behemoth, after its shares took a sharp plunge this week.

In a series of tense meetings and telephone calls, the executives weighed several options, including whether to replace Citigroup's chief executive Vikram S Pandit or to sell all or part of the company, the New York Times reported.

The paper reported that the company's executives on Friday entered into talks with federal officials about how to stabilise the struggling financial giant.

The report came amidst some analysts saying that infusion of $50 to $100 billion might be needed to bail out the bank.

The course of action, however, remained uncertain on Friday night, the people involved in talks were quoted as saying, and other options may yet emerge. But after a year of gaping losses and an accelerating decline in share price, Citigroup, which has $2 trillion in assets and operations in scores of countries, is running out of time, analysts were quoted by The New York Times as saying.

The paper said, Citigroup's management and some board members held several calls with Henry M Paulson Jr, the Treasury secretary, and with the president of the Federal Reserve of Bank of New York, Timothy E Geithner, who later emerged as President-elect Barack Obama's choice to be Treasury secretary.


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