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 Buzzfeed’s latest revelations about Uber executives discussing hiring opposition researchers to dig into the personal life of a reporter, Sarah Lacy, who had repeatedly criticized the company, these threats against my own privacy appear to be less of a paranoid possibility than I’d originally thought…My sources could not confirm this or any other incursion by Uber executives into journalists’ rider data. However, they were also not shocked by the accusations. “My general thoughts?” said a former employee in an email, about the ongoing scandal. “It doesn’t surprise me.” [SFM via Dealbook]
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. Read more »
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 »
‘Counterparty’ is such a bandied about term nowadays. So I just, you know, I kinda just don’t use ‘em.By Bess Levin
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 the trades, and wanted to know who the counterparties were. In the email, Mr. Adoboli wrote: “First of all, the ETF trades that you see on the ledger are not trades that I have done with a counterparty as I have previously described…I used the bookings as a way to suppress the PnL losses that I have accrued through off book trades that I made”. [WSJ]
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]