As you may have heard, things have not been going tremendously well for Steve Cohen of late. Two days before Thanksgiving, the government went public with its case against a former SAC Capital employee, Mathew Martoma, who it accused of masterminding the largest insider trading scheme ever. Cohen was neither charged nor mentioned by name in the criminal complaint, but he did make an appearance playing the role of “Portfolio Manager A,” a part we have previously mentioned one does not want to portray, if it can be avoided. Then on Wednesday, it was disclosed that SAC had received a Wells notice, indicative of the SEC’s plan to sue the fund and if that wasn’t enough, sources also claimed investigators are considering naming Cohen personally in the suit, to boot. So things are not exactly going his way right now and what he could really use is a break. The government dropping all charges against Martoma and publicly stating it will stay out of the Big Guy’s business forever starting right this second seems out of the question but even some small act of kindness would probably help. Allowing him to pass you on 95. Telling him he looks nice today. Asking, “Have you been working out?” Sending him humorous YouTube videos with a sweet note like, “Hang in there, bud. You’re in my thoughts…”
On the flip side, you know what he doesn’t need? Wildly libelous claims that it’s going to take a lot more than a “Correction” to forgive. 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 »
“Corrections & Amplifications MF Global acknowledged to federal regulators that it had diverted funds out of customer accounts, and a federal official said the move is possibly in violation of the law. An earlier version of this article incorrectly implied that MF Global had admitted the move violated the law.” [WSJ]
Steve Eisman To Threaten Proxy Battles Over The Phone From His Perch At FrontPoint For Years To ComeBy Bess Levin
Earlier today, it was suggested that Steve Eisman was “weighing” leaving FrontPoint Partners, after he told the Journal, “At this point in my career, I want to have more control over my destiny.” Apparently the speculation was way off base, forcing Steve-o to clarify his statement. Read more »
Last Friday, a junior rainmaker at the house tax evasion built suggested a raw deal was being dealt to first years re: bonuses, with top buckets taking home $55k. Today, one of his colleagues suggest such is not the case. Read more »