Update: There is it.
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 AwkwardBy Bess Levin
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 in Tokyo 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 being 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 guy 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. However, the absolute most wonderful bit of awkwardness to be found in “Awkward Spot For Citi’s CEO,” is, without question, this: Read more »
Hiring Watch ’12: UBS Was Just Joking When It Fired Scores Of Employees In The Harshest Ways ImaginableBy Bess Levin
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.
Read more »
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 similar, but not quite the same.”…host Mark Shriver apologized for bungling his introduction of Thain, 57, a former Goldman Sachs president who has been CEO of CIT Group Inc. since February 2010. “I thought it was a misspelling,” said Shriver, senior vice president of nonprofit Save the Children. “It said CIT — I’m like, this has got to be Citi.” [Bloomberg, related]
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! Pulitzer 2012 baby!”
Step 8: Breathe, tell yourself to calm down and reel it in. Read more »
Wall Street Bank That Might Consider Entering The Witness Protection Program Screws Zoe Cruz Out Of A Job For The Second TimeBy Bess Levin
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 Pandit 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: Read more »
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 got a few thoughts on what not to do.
This time last year, I sent my worst interview flubs to some friends also beaten down by internship recruiting. Then unexpectedly and immediately, they all piped in with gems of their own. Highlights of the (continuing) shame thread below should reassure you that: i) it’s okay if you’re not perfect every time, and ii) someone else somewhere is botching it far worse than you ever thought you could. So you might as well just laugh off (and record) those special moments …
When your interviewer is an idiot, an ass, or both:
Interviewer: Two companies, A and B. A is 50/50 debt/equity, B is 100% equity. EBITDA doubles, multiple stays flat. Whose share price moves more?
Candidate: (fumbles, gets it wrong)
Interviewer: What does “applied math,” your undergrad major, mean?
Candidate: Ha. Well, I’m pretty good at long division
Interviewer: So how many people today have asked you about being an Eagle Scout?
Candidate: You’re the first one actually. Were you an Eagle Scout?
Candidate: My parents wouldn’t let me [quit]. You get to high school, everyone is out on dates, and you’re at a Camporee. But we all looked back at it and realized it taught us an appreciation of the outdoors and good respect for your elders.
Interviewer: Elders. You guys are all about that, aren’t you? The elders.
Interviewer & Candidate: (extended awkward silence) Read more »
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 Goldman Sachs recruiting event,” which represented a step too far. The newspaper took occupiers to task for “presenting a facile and trivializing interpretation of the root causes of the economic catastrophe and debases our national conversation on the issue,” for failing to comprehend that Goldman Sachs is going to hire employees regardless– and, god damn, it, they ought to be Harvard students–, and for just generally embarrassing themselves by “pitching a simplistic conception of the financial crisis and targeting fellow students [which] is not the way to have a successful movement.” Moving forward, the Crimsonians cautioned, “Occupy ought to refrain from such ill-conceived protests in the future.”
But it was already too late. Goldman canceled an event in Cambridge, supposedly due to the proximity to reading period, though more likely to send a message– that it would entertain the idea of hiring Harvard graduates when it was made to feel welcome. At the time, we urged those dreaming of a job with Lloyd and Co to woo them and woo them hard. Compliments, flowers, red carpet, the works. An editorial extolling, say, the virtues of Abacus and their rippling abs. Stuff like that. Maybe not stuff like this: Read more »
Oh, did someone say 10,000? That’s embarrassing. Number is actually more like 40,000. Read more »
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 off with Ferreyr a couple days after signing the papers on the pad and then, during pillow talk during one night of “reconciliation,” he allegedly whispered to her that he’d let other woman named Tamikoa Bolton move into her “dream home.” Bad idea! Ferreyr let him know she was pissed, feelings she claims he responded to by attempting to choke her and flinging a lamp at her foot. Now she wants $50 million from Soros and would probably also like the bitch who stole her man to find a new place to live because quite awkwardly, Ferreyr and Bolton are now both living in the building, Bolton in 7C, Ferreyr a few floors down (if Soros, who lives two blocks away and was apparently “furious that Ferreyr found a lease in the building,” thought he was going to be able to get rid of her so quickly, he was sorely mistaken). This has proven slightly awkward.
Things became so testy between the rival women at 30 E. 85th St. — when the scorned Ferreyr managed to rent another apartment there — that each accused the other of harassment, according to court papers. The passive-aggressive catfight between the sultry actress and the sexy licensed pharmacist escalated to the point that Bolton began “slandering her to the board of the building, the management company, doormen and lawyers,” Ferreyr charges in her lawsuit.
While you’d think that a grown-up soap star and sexy licensed pharmacist could put their feelings for the Hungarian hunk of man meat aside, we fear that this is only the beginning and the beginning of the end of their residency in the building. It starts with talking shit to the doorman and you know where it goes from there? Read more »