Pandit to reveal turnaround strategy for Citigroup

May 9th, 2008 - 6:57 pm ICT by admin  

New York, May 9 (IANS) Vikram Pandit, chief of the troubled Citigroup, is set to reveal his revival strategy to investors and he is expected to emphasise on the business model. In Pandit’s view, Citi should concentrate on four main lines of business - credit cards, wealth management, the corporate bank, and investment banking - and sell off “non-core” operations, Fortune magazine reported Thursday. Citi’s North American commercial lending and leasing business is among the most recent divestments by the company.

India-born Pandit also believes that Citi, a mammoth operation spread over 100 countries, should be run as a matrixed organisation - a management form in which many executives may have to report to two seniors, say the head of a geographical region and the head of credit cards. That can and does lead to confusion and bitterness, but Pandit believes that to be the best option.

Pandit and his crew will also Friday tell the shareholders the many management changes that have been made - including new executives brought in - and highlight Citi’s cost-cutting attempts. They will also offer updates on how Citi’s risks are being contained and monitored.

Still, Fortune concludes, more than hard talk about progress made, all Pandit can offer are promises. It quotes Citigroup’s chief administrative officer, Don Callahan, who predicted Pandit’s argument will go like this: “Here’s what I’ve studied, here is what I’ve come to know, and here is where I think this organisation can go in moving forward.”

Citi showed a first quarter loss of $5.1 billion and $14 billion of pretax writedowns, mainly for subprime mortgages and leveraged lending. Needing capital, it raised roughly $30 billion last winter, and added more than $10 billion in notes, preferred stock and common stock.

Strangely, Citi did not take the obvious capital-conserving step of eliminating its dividend, which has helped the price of Citi stock. At $24, it is up from $18 a few weeks ago - yet less than half Citi’s stock price a year ago.

Pandit has a lot of convincing to do on Investor Day that he can turn around the behemoth company without breaking it up as some have suggested.

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