On Monday night, Citi CEO Mike Corbat appeared on a panel at NYU’s Stern School of Business alongside hedge fund manager John Paulson and private equity chief Joseph Landy. The conversation was free flowing and touched on a number of subjects du jour, like too-big-to-fail, post-crisis regulation, and the future of the global economy, but, as he was speaking before students, Corbat was also there to make the case for people to come work at Citi. Knowing full well that the banking industry in general and Citi specifically probably holds little if any allure for the junior banking set these days, he put on a happy face nonetheless and really committed to the part, telling those assembled:
1. Despite regulatory constraints, it’s still a super fun time to be a banker.
2. Banks are going “digital” so you could think of yourself like a pioneer, on the Oregon Trail.
3. Bottom line: We’re all adults here. Everyone knows you all want to go to a PE firm or hedge fund but not everybody’s gonna because there literally aren’t enough chairs to go around at these places. Their offices aren’t that big, relatively speaking, and there straight up are not enough places for people to sit. I’m not stupid, I get it. Who wouldn’t want to go work for Paulson and Co. over a bank, especially when that bank is Citi. But again, it just comes down to math. So when you get the “We’ll be in touch line” from them, you come give me a call. Read more »
Deutsche Bank’s CEOs will still be allowed to show their faces at the St. Petersburg International Economic Forum, because German businessmen—familiar as they are with protecting their own abroad—don’t see any reason why imperial irredentism should get in the way of making money. But they’re gonna have a hard time finding other bank chiefs to have caviar fights with. Read more »
Back in the day, as in pre-financial crisis, it was okay– nay, encouraged– for a bank chief executive officer to conduct himself in a brash, swaggering manner that communicated a general message of “I do what I want and if you don’t like it, suck on this.” Regulators were peons to be told where to go, the pages of the Journal were a place to thump their chests. San Pietro was a place for holding court while knocking back 9 martinis. If you didn’t like what they had to say, too damn bad.
Somewhere in the last couple years, though, things started to change. People no longer wanted to hear executives who helped cause the global financial crisis tell the world why they were right and you were wrong. Responding to calls that enormous bonuses struck an out of touch tone by inviting CNBC into their offices, dropping trau, telling the cameraman “you’re gonna wanna zoom in on this,” and rolling around in a pile of money with abandon was no longer as effective as it once was. Regulators no longer took kindly to receiving FedEx packages that included photographs of CEOs using pages of, for example Dodd-Frank, as toilet paper with a gold star atop that read “You tried.”
As those of you who’ve been with Citigroup since at least 2007 know, analyst Mike Mayo has never really had any very nice things to say about the bank. If you haven’t committed all of his comments and research reports to memory, or had them printed and stored for posterity in leather-bound books, a brief history of Mayo’s relationship with the institution include:
Sure, Mayo was pretty pleased when the board threw his arch-nemesis, Vikram Pandit, out in the middle of the night, and even said he was going to give the bank a chance to prove itself to him under the new leadership of CEO Mike Corbat. But nobody actually thought he’d start having good thing to say about the place, which is why the Mayo Jar is as shocked as you to be offering this: Read more »