awkward

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  • uber

    News

    Uber Execs (Presumably!) Draw The Line At Tailing Reporters’ Cars In Real Time

    While I was reporting my recent cover story on Uber and its CEO Travis Kalanick, several current and former Uber employees warned me that company higher-ups might access my rider logs. Because I couldn’t independently verify these claims without sacrificing my sources’ anonymity, I didn’t include them in the final piece. However, in light of […]

    / Nov 19, 2014 at 12:09 PM
  • News

    Herbalife Director Didn’t Know He Had Been Indicted A Year Before He Joined The Board

    It seems that Herbalife Chairman’s Club member and director Pedro Cardoso was involved in a private matter back in 1998. He says it’s no biggie; Brazilian prosecutors say it was a scheme to embezzle $10.4 million from a Brazilian state. So they indicted him 10 years later, which is apparently news to Pedro Cardoso, even […]

    / Nov 14, 2014 at 2:19 PM
  • News

    Christine Lagarde Calls Ben Bernanke Stupid In Franglish

    The IMF chief, whose words have never and will never rattle markets like those of the Beard, cannot understand why the Fed is unable to deploy information as sagaciously and effectively as her august organization.

    / Jun 27, 2013 at 3:51 PM
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  • mikecorbatweightlifting-260x405

    News

    Mike Corbat’s Wife Is Gal-Pals With The Wife Of One Of The Guys Abruptly Fired The Day He Was Named CEO, And Other Things Making His First 100 Days At The Top Awkward

    Over at the Journal today you will find a story called “Awkward Spot For Citi’s CEO,” which details the various awkwardness encountered by Mike Corbat since he took over as Chief Executive Officer, following Vikram Pandit’s awkward ousting. There is also a delightful bonus round of awkwardness that comes as a postscript to the article, but we’ll get the that later. First, why are things slightly awk for Corbat?

    Well, for starters, he knew that Pandit was going to be unexpectedly and unceremoniously fired long before VP did, including the entire time they were on a business trip together. The whole time they were flying over there together, having dinner together, meeting with clients together, taking in shows and doing touristy things when they had downtime from the conference together, he knew Pandit was about to get hit by a truck. No one blames Corbat for Vickles getting canned but, at the same time, there is a feeling by a few at Citi that you’d have to be some kind of monster to look a person in the eye and say “Sure, a trip the the Zen Temples sounds great,” and take in the cherry blossoms and drink sake and do karaoke and fight over who is Scarlett Johansson and who is Bill Murray with him all the while knowing what was going to happen when you got home.

    For Vikram Pandit, a trip to Tokyo for the International Monetary Fund and World Bank conference last month seemed routine. But Michael Corbat, the longtime Citigroup executive who joined Mr. Pandit there, knew better. Unbeknown to Mr. Pandit, Citigroup Chairman Mike O’Neill had told Mr. Corbat that the board could seek Mr. Pandit’s resignation as chief executive and hand the job to Mr. Corbat, according to people familiar with the situation. A day after Messrs. Pandit and Corbat returned to New York, that is exactly what happened. A host of financial, competitive and regulatory issues confronts the 52-year-old Mr. Corbat atop the nation’s third-biggest bank by assets. But no task is more critical than soothing workers unsettled by the way the board ousted Mr. Pandit and his longtime right-hand man, John Havens, who ran the investment bank and served as president and chief operating officer. The effort is made even more delicate by Mr. Corbat’s proximity to Mr. Pandit in the days before the coup. Executives say they don’t blame Mr. Corbat for Mr. Pandit’s overthrow, though some wondered how Mr. Corbat was able to sit through the IMF meetings knowing what was to unfold.

    Additionally awkward is the fact that there has been chatter around the office and scrawled on the walls of the men’s room that there’s only enough room in this Citi for one guy named Mike, and it’s not Corbat.

    Adding to Mr. Corbat’s challenges is the perception among some insiders that he is overshadowed by Mr. O’Neill. Employees have privately joked that of the two Mikes, it is Mr. O’Neill who is truly in charge. People close to Mr. O’Neill dispute that notion and say he has spent little time at his Citigroup office in the past month.

    Finally, you have the awkwardness of Mike not only knowing his colleague Vikram was going to be fired, but that his colleague and friend, John Havens, was getting the boot himself, which may or may not have caused auxiliary awkwardness for Corbat on the home front.

    Mr. Corbat’s position is all the more awkward given his close personal relationship with Mr. Havens. The two men spent time together outside of work, occasionally vacationing with their wives at Mr. Havens’ Scotland estate.

    All good examples of things that could be characterized as awkward to be sure. But! The absolute most wonderful bit of awkwardness to be found in “Awkward Spot For Citi’s CEO,” is, without question, this:

    / Nov 16, 2012 at 12:47 PM
  • ubsairship

    News

    Hiring Watch ’12: UBS Was Just Joking When It Fired Scores Of Employees In The Harshest Ways Imaginable

    Remember last week when UBS called New York based employees the day after Hurricane Sandy to tell them they no longer had a job, and communicated the same news to London-based staff by deactivating their ID cards and cutting off their email access? The bank is hoping everyone is at the point where they can laugh about all that, as apparently management got a bit overzealous with its firings– these things happen in the heat of the moment– and actually let go of a few too many people, who are now being offered their jobs back.

    UBS has brought back several employees who were put on leave when it unveiled a drastic pullback from fixed income last week, and more could follow, sources familiar with the situation said. The Swiss bank stopped dozens of traders from reaching their desks in London last Tuesday, when it unveiled an exit from most of its rates and bond trading businesses in a strategic overhaul that will lead to 10,000 global layoffs. The bankers were placed on special leave until further notice, while in the United States UBS fired several fixed-income employees by phone. UBS has already brought back a small handful of employees who were on leave, two people familiar with the matter said. It could also ask more to return or rehire some where needed, said three other sources, including UBS insiders, adding that some desks were now too thinly staffed to operate properly, if they were desks the bank ultimately wanted to keep going.

    No hard feelings?

    UBS takes back some traders on leave amid overhaul [Reuters]
    Earlier: UBS Takes Swift Action On Job Cuts; Layoffs Watch ’12: UBS Tells Employees Not To Bother Themselves With Figuring Out How To Get Into Work (Ever Again)

    / Nov 7, 2012 at 3:53 PM
  • News

    ‘Counterparty’ is such a bandied about term nowadays. So I just, you know, I kinda just don’t use ‘em.

    According to [Crown Prosecution Service’s Sasha] Wass, William Steward, an accountant in the UBS back office, “must have felt that he had been hit by a steam roller” after he received an email from Adoboli on Sept. 14 last year revealing his actions. She said Steward had three conversations that morning with Mr. Adoboli about […]

    / Sep 14, 2012 at 1:33 PM
  • News

    Area Man Can’t Believe There’s Something Called “CIT Group”

    The master of ceremonies made a mistake as he named John Thain one of the year’s finest dads, introducing him as the chief executive officer of Citigroup. “Vikram Pandit will be very unhappy,” Thain said, accepting an award from Father’s Day/Mother’s Day Council Inc. on June 14. “I’m actually the CEO of CIT, which is […]

    / Jun 25, 2012 at 11:37 AM
  • News

    How Your CNBC Sausage Gets Made (Update)

    Step 1: Come up with story idea, say, about how small businesses are being hurt due to the NBA lockout
    Step 2: Reach out to Twitter followers, ask them to corroborate said story
    Step 3: Wait.
    Step 4: Practice asking Kate Upton to be your Valentine. [“Will you, Kaaa” voice cracks. “Will you, Kate Upton..” No, that’s stupid. “Kate I would be most honored if you..”]
    Step 5: Daydream about how you and “Katie” will tell your families you eloped.
    Step 6: Marvel at your good fortune when a guy, who in real life is a bored teenager but over the internet seems like a legit businessman, emails you to say that he runs an escort service in New York, “mostly for away team players after games but some Knicks and Nets too; they are high rollers and I’m not getting the constant business I that I need to stay running.”
    Step 7: Double fist pump the air and shout “Yes, D-Rove, you got this!”
    Step 8: Breathe, tell yourself to calm down and reel it in.
    Step 9: Put on your reporter hat and ask “Henry James” some questions like, “How much money would say you’re losing? What cut do you then get? What is the cheapest woman and what is the most expensive woman? I assume it’s by the hour and what is the typical # of hours?”
    Step 10: Make no attempt to verify source is who he says he is, that his business exists, that you’re not being taken for a ride.
    Step 11: Cut, print.

    How A Teenager With A Fake Escort Service Duped Darren Rovell And CNBC [Deadspin]
    Related: SI Swimsuit Model Doesn’t Have To Worry About Things Getting Weird With CNBC Reporter Because He’s Known Her Since She Was 17

    / Jun 6, 2012 at 1:55 PM
  • News

    Wall Street Bank That Might Consider Entering The Witness Protection Program Screws Zoe Cruz Out Of A Job For The Second Time

    [caption id="attachment_76125" align="alignleft" width="260" caption="How people smile when they're plotting cutting your brake lines."][/caption]

    Earlier this week, it was announced that Zoe Cruz would be closing her hedge fund, Voras Capital Management. Cruz started the fund in 2010, a few years after she was famously fired by John Mack at Morgan Stanley (where she was co-President), for reasons that remain unclear to this day but include theories like: a) the belief that she was responsible for losing the firm a few billion dollars b) a lot of people disliked her– including this guy named Vikram Pandi who was “not a fan“– and told Mack they would leave if he made Cruz CEO c) Mack had to blame either himself or Cruz for some losses and he chose her. d) She was, you know, a girl, and the boys didn’t like that. Regardless, the ousting was probably mildly to majorly humiliating for ZC and since Mack– who she was extremely close with prior to the personnel change– was the one who told her to hit the bricks, it would have been fair to assume she spent a least a little time fantasizing about  sticking pins in a Mack voodoo doll and/or slashing his tires.

    In 2009, though, Mack and Zoe had lunch and she told him she wanted to start a hedge fund. And maybe it was it was the fact that he was feeling nostalgic, maybe it was the fact that tragedy + time = comedy, maybe it was the fact that he was still riding high from “saving” Morgan Stanley, maybe it was the wine, maybe it was that he was feeling bad about the unceremonious canning and thought “Oh, why not just give the poor girl some money” but Mack went back to the office and “told bank executives that he would like to help her start her new investment business, according to people familiar with the matter.” And when they said, “But John, didn’t you fire her for supposedly taking on too much risk and losing the firm $4 billion,” he said “[Well], her track record was a very good track record.” So Morgan Stanley gave Cruz $20 million and she was on her way. And while we can’t say for sure, and we’re not suggesting money necessarily heals all wounds, the $20 million and the stamp of approval and the fact that she could say to investors she was trying to raise money from ,”Hey look, even the guy who fired me wants in” probably helped smooth things over and improve MS’s standing in the Cruz-missile’s eyes. She likely even had nice things to say about her former employer at social gatherings! And then this happened:

    Last month, Morgan Stanley asked for its money back, disappointed by the hedge fund’s performance and worried about the shrinking size of Ms. Cruz’s firm, according to people familiar with the matter…The retreat by Morgan Stanley was part of broader moves to sell off assets that Chief Executive James Gorman felt exposed the company to unnecessary risk or otherwise didn’t serve clients, the people said…On Thursday, the 57-year-old Ms. Cruz told clients in a letter that she has decided to close down Voras Capital Management. The letter cited “the difficult capital-raising environment for new funds and the enormous uncertainty and volatility in the markets,” according to a person who saw the letter. It was signed by Ms. Cruz.

    Oooo, that’s not good. In fact, it’s worse than if they’d never given her the $20 mill at all. But to give and take back? Yikes. All those nice things Cruz said about MS and Co? Strike them from the record because they are so over! Don’t call, don’t write, don’t cry don’t beg ’cause you’re done! Finished!

    Morgan Stanely Bailed On Firm [WSJ]

    / May 11, 2012 at 12:52 PM
  • News

    SALT 2012 Entertainment Surprised, Sad To Learn He Was Performing At A Sausage-Fest

    “Where are the ladies tonight?” Levine asked as the drummer kept a faint beat. One could hear a few screams. “That means there are a lot of dudes here,” he shot back. “It’s not the best ratio.” The men nodded and laughed knowingly. A few adoring women in the front screamed a little louder, and […]

    / May 10, 2012 at 3:52 PM
  • News

    The Interview Shame Thread

    We, elderly Second-Year Sages, like to offer recruiting advice as if we know how it’s done. Truth is, we have no idea what these firms, who shop for new blood annually, are really looking for. Like giving birth and swimming, it’s something you just have to try yourself to find your best approach. Still, we’ve […]

    / Feb 29, 2012 at 3:31 PM
  • News

    Life Choices For $500. The Answer Is: “You Will Be A Worse Person If You Do It”

    As you may have heard, several weeks ago a fed up Harvard Crimson staff ran an impassioned editorial urging Occupy Wall Street protesters on campus to leave Goldman Sachs, and those hoping to gain employment with the firm, alone. The last straw had been a group of Occupy Harvard supporters who “attempted to disrupt a […]

    / Dec 20, 2011 at 5:20 PM
  • News

    Layoffs Watch ’11: Bank Of America Was Just Kidding About Laying Off 10,000 Employees

    Oh, did someone say 10,000? That’s embarrassing. Number is actually more like 40,000.

    / Sep 9, 2011 at 8:27 AM
  • News

    Burning Passion For George Soros May Get Two Ladies Kicked Out Of Upper East Side Building

    Yesterday we discussed George Soros’ love life. Specifically his dealings with 28 year-old Brazilian soap star Adriana Ferreyr. After 5 years of what she describes as a “serious and meaningful relationship” (while Soros’ lawyer characterized it as “on-again, off-again and non-exclusive”), Soros promised to buy her an apartment on East 85th Street. He broke things […]

    / Aug 12, 2011 at 12:36 PM
  • News

    So This Happened

    [via BI]

    / Aug 10, 2011 at 1:29 PM
  • News

    Chicago-Based Commodities Trader Declared Dead In 1986 Actually Alive And Well In Las Vegas

    On May 11, 1979, commodities trader and “family man” Arthur Gerald Jones went missing. His wife told investigators that six months prior, he’d lost his job, and due to the fact that despite selling his CBOT seat and forging her name on an application for a second mortgage, Jones still had a bunch of gambling […]

    / Jul 22, 2011 at 5:44 PM

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