Monday, November 19, 2007

Citi CEO: Bring In "The Hammer"

Current Treasury Secretary Hank Paulson would be just what Citigroup (C) needs at this time.

After the gun slinger Sandy Weill and the cerebral and frumpy Chuck Prince, Citigroup could benefit from the disciplined no-nonsense Paulson.

Professional History:
1970 to 1972- Staff Assistant to the Assistant Secretary of Defense at The Pentagon
1972 to 1973- Assistant to John Ehrlichman
1974- Paulson joined Goldman Sachs (GS), working in the firm's Chicago office becoming partner in 1982.
1983 to 1988- Led the Investment Banking group for the Midwest Region, and became Managing partner of the Chicago Office in 1988.
1990 to 1994- Co-head of Investment Banking, then, Chief Operating Officer
1994 to 1998- Succeeded Jon Corzine (now Governor of New Jersey) as its chief executive of Goldman.
May 30, 2006- Succeed John Snow as the US Treasury Secretary.

Citi needs someone to walk in and take control. It is something they have been lacking even when Sandy Weill was there. Weill left a mess behind him for Prince to clean up and Prince did that. However, the head of the world's largest bank needs to have more personality that a wet dish mop and let's be honest, Prince being the handpicked successor to Weill without Weill's persona left him without much respect on Wall St.

Paulson as CEO would immediately fix both issues and give Citi a leader that would both bring discipline to the company and credibility to the CEO position.

Would Paulson take the job? Why not? It sure would pay well and the Treasury job he has is done in a year anyway. Would Rubin want him given their obvious political differences? Rubin's legacy is severely tainted now, fixing that would trump any other considerations he may have.

Is there any evidence this may happen? not that I am aware of but as long as the position is open, let's speculate.

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