According to Dick Parsons, who stepped down as chairman of Citi in March because Mike Mayo told him to, last week’s news that Pandit had left the building for good was “somewhat” surprising, though, if you really think about it, not so surprising, as whipping morbidly obese companies into shape just really isn’t Vikram’s thing. Even he’ll tell you that.

“You need seasoned, honed managers who can cause a 250,000, 300,000-personnel organization to march” with direction, Parsons said in a weekend interview at his Tuscan vineyard in Montalcino, Italy. “Vikram will tell you, ‘That’s not my bag.’” Pandit, 55, produced “every good idea that we had” to prevent Citigroup’s collapse during the financial crisis, Parsons said. New CEO Michael Corbat, 52, who previously ran the Citi Holdings unit, is well-equipped to lead the firm as it cuts costs and sells unwanted assets, the ex-chairman said. “Mike Corbat, who I knew back in the day when he ran the Holdings operation, is just that kind of man,” said Parsons, 64, adding that he was “somewhat” surprised by the timing of Pandit’s exit. “The transition and change was, in the long term, not inevitable but appropriate.”

Anyway, who wants wine?

Parsons, visiting his Il Palazzone vineyard to inaugurate a cellar, said regulatory pressures will still be a challenge for the new management team. “Externally, it’s still going to be tough,” said Parsons, sipping a glass of his 2004 Brunello Riserva as he sat outside a stone house set on an ancient trail from Frankfurt to Rome. “To some extent, the regulatory/political community is still almost at war with the big banks.” Nelson Rockefeller introduced Parsons to fine wines. He plans to turn the hobby into a profitable business by doubling production of red wines that retail in the U.S. for as much as $130 a bottle.

Parsons Sipping Red Wine Calls Pandit Exit ‘Appropriate’ [Bloomberg]
Earlier: Vikram Pandit And Citigroup Not Yet On Same Page Re: Who Dumped Whom; Zen Gardens That Never Were: Vikram Pandit Doesn’t Have To Put Up With This Shit Anymore

20 comments (hidden to protect delicate sensibilities)
Show all comments ↓

Comments (20)

  1. Posted by Guest | October 22, 2012 at 2:23 PM

    Pandit will start a Hedge Fund that Citi will buy in 5 years.

  2. Posted by Guest | October 22, 2012 at 2:26 PM

    I'm thinking BAML.

  3. Posted by whichtrailtorome | October 22, 2012 at 2:38 PM

    "back in the day"?

    was the the 21 Jump Street reunion intervew?

  4. Posted by Guesticle | October 22, 2012 at 2:41 PM

    …says the guy who provided oversight of Citi for 16 years as a board member.

  5. Posted by Guest | October 22, 2012 at 2:42 PM

    Pandit might even hire the Indian Putnam Portfolio Manager Ping Pong champion.

  6. Posted by Im_a_Dude | October 22, 2012 at 2:42 PM

    Funny, after coming off a disaster like Citi, this guy is so sure he will " turn the hobby into a profitable business by doubling production"

  7. Posted by Guest | October 22, 2012 at 3:02 PM

    Now he only invests in things that are guaranteed to always be liquid…

  8. Posted by Guest | October 22, 2012 at 3:08 PM

    "To some extent, the regulatory/political community is still, it's ah, ya know, it's still… oh who am I kidding? I've been drinking since last Tuesday. I didn't even know Pandit was out until you guys called me like an hour ago."

  9. Posted by Guest | October 22, 2012 at 3:09 PM

    The Punjab Putnam vs. The Maccabiah Messiah

  10. Posted by PermaGuestII | October 22, 2012 at 3:15 PM

    Nelson Rockefeller taught me about some things, too.

    -Client 9

  11. Posted by guest | October 22, 2012 at 3:33 PM

    Sour grapes?

  12. Posted by Guest | October 22, 2012 at 3:36 PM

    Only gets better with age.

  13. Posted by Edmond_Dantes | October 22, 2012 at 3:48 PM

    '…Brunello Riserva !?…back in the day we just used to call it Ripple…'

    Fred G. Sanford
    CEO – Sanford & Sons

  14. Posted by investorcluzo | October 22, 2012 at 3:52 PM

    M. O'Neill: "don't you have any better bad ideas"
    Vik P: "this is the best bad idea we've got"

    drops mic, walks out of board meeting

  15. Posted by Pietro_F | October 22, 2012 at 4:25 PM

    $130 and it satisfies Dick Parsons' palate? Is it too late to get in on the ground floor?

  16. Posted by Stan O | October 22, 2012 at 4:49 PM

    Launny Steffens has a winery too.

    It's not profitable per se.

  17. Posted by Jay | October 22, 2012 at 4:55 PM

    Hopefully, there isn't a case of sour grapes when the winery doesn't work out but Citi does.

  18. Posted by V. Pandit | October 22, 2012 at 5:35 PM

    I would never say "That's not my bag" unless we are talking about a bag, which is indeed not mine.

  19. Posted by G. Smith | October 23, 2012 at 9:44 AM

    pfffffft. He ain't so tough

  20. Posted by Patricia Kluge | October 23, 2012 at 11:28 AM

    The natural exit for the high-end winemaking business is to BK it and let Trump buy it in the 363 sale, right?