Remember when Sandy Weill decided to sell all his belongings? Included in the fire sale was a 200-foot yacht called April Fool, which the former Citigroup CEO was trying to unload for $69.5 million, before slashing the price at least a couple times. Read more »
About a month ago, retired Citi CEO Sandy Weill set his alarm an hour early, got out of bed when it was still dark, ate a piece of rye toast, told Joan he’d see her when he’d see her, took the elevator downstairs to wait for the car that drove him out to Englewood Cliffs, and went on CNBC to proffer a small suggestion to Wall Street: break up the big banks. Perhaps you heard about it? Not many people were receptive to the notion of Weill giving them advice on the matter, which may or may not have had something to do with the fact that in his day, Weill couldn’t get enough of big banks and was the man responsible for cobbling together the behemoth known as Citigroup, an institution so huge it can barely support its own weight. The response by most, in fact, was “Shut it, you old bag.” But what about Vikram Pandit, the lucky guy who inherited the place? What did he think of Weill’s tip? After giving it some good thought– really and truly considering it– for a few weeks, he’s decided to take a pass:
Citigroup’s chief executive has knocked back the idea of big banks being split up after calls from people such as his predecessor Sandy Weill.
But not for the reasons you might think! Pandit actually agrees with Sando because if you think about it, Citi’s already been broken up and is basically the bank it was before the merger that resulted in the need for firefighters to use a giant pulley system to lift it out of bed every morning and help it get around. Read more »
One silly thing to think about JPMorgan’s executive reshuffling announced today is “fuck you Sandy Weill!” Before today JPMorgan looked a bit like a loose confederation of financial services businesses, including in particular three different institutional units: the Global Corporate Bank, a bank that lends money to companies, the Investment Bank, an investment bank that does mergers and trades securities, and Treasury & Securities Services, which I think of as sort of a meta-bank that offers big companies checking accounts and safe deposit boxes but, like, bigger. Now all of those things are being combined into the Corporate & Investment Bank, irrevocably mixing corporate (good!) and investment (bad!) banking into one unholy mess seasoned liberally with credit default swaps. The combination will sadden anyone with any hopes of bringing back Glass-Steagall, but it’s paying dividends for JPMorgan already, as the C&IB “will be looking to our global leaders to help implement strategy and deliver top-line synergies, while optimizing the model across all functions in the regions,” a masterpiece of jargon that I doubt any of its businesses could have managed on their own.
“Top-line synergies” of course means that now when you open a cash management account with former TSS you get not a toaster but a meeting in which you’re pitched on a loan from the former corporate bank and a potential M&A deal opportunity with the former investment bank, and vice versa mutatis mutandis if you instead enter JPMorgan through the lending or advisory or trading doors. Because the goal is not merely for JPMorgan to do all of the financial-services functions that some people think should be separated from each other, but for JPMorgan to do all of those functions for all of the clients in the world, because some people just don’t worry that much about “too big to fail.” Read more »
For reasons that are not yet entirely clear, Sandy Weill is selling all his worldly possessions. (He claims he and the wife are “downsizing a little bit” but this smacks more of someone having a feng shui attack.) Earlier this month it was Sando’s 15 Central Park West penthouse, which was bought for $88 million as a gift for a 22 year-old fertilizer heiress, today it’s his yacht. For those in the market: Read more »
In the market for a 6,744-square-foot penthouse with views of Central Park and the opportunity to run into Lloyd, Loeb or Sting in the elevator? Sandy Weill’s got something you might be interested in. It’s his 15CPW apartment and the Journal reports it could be yours for $88 million, merely double what Weill paid for it in 2007. What’s in it for you? In addition to a 2,077-square-foot terrace, 12 and a half foot high ceilings, plus the knowledge that Sandy “held parties for scores of guests in his 33-foot-wide living room, with the concert pianist Lang Lang performing,” you’d be making Sando, whose heart still hurts over everything that went down at Citi, look good. How so? Sandy and Joan, who’ve decided to kick it old school by downsizing to a smaller apartment in the same building (“He said he wanted it known that he was remaining true to his roots in Bensonhurst, Brooklyn, and wasn’t abandoning New York City”), won’t be keeping the money.
Sanford I. Weill, the former chairman and chief executive of Citigroup Inc., has put one of the most celebrated postwar penthouses in Manhattan on the market for $88 million, saying that at a difficult period in the country’s history, it is “a pretty good time” for wealthy Americans “to be quiet.” He said he intends to donate to charity the proceeds from the sale.
And, if you happen to be one of the jerks who abandoned the guy in recent years, there’s a bonus component for laying down the cash- you get to live, having bought your way off Joan Weill’s To Kill list. Read more »
No, just messing with you. Banker pay “fueled risk that hobbled the economy,” according the Financial Crisis Inquiry Commission’s report, released today. Read more »
For the last few years or so, Citi has been shown relatively little respect by market participants. That may have had to do with the fact that the bank was not a very desirable asset, having decided during the Sandy Weill era that big is beautiful. Unfortunately the C went a little too far with the idea, making it it’s business to consume everything in arm’s reach. It quite literally became “too big to fail,” and the only attention it got was negative. Receiving the sort of admiration and compliments afforded to a place like Goldman or JPMorgan was out of the question; the nicest thing you could say about C was it would take home plenty of ribbons at a pie eating contest– “best digestion,” etc. And Vickles ain’t gonna lie the jabs stung. But now? Post-makeover that’s included shedding assets, slimming down and getting back to the “core” business? Vikram is feeling hot. Regulation hottie hot. And not just when he and C look in the mirror, but in the eyes of the Street.
Pandit touted moves the bank has made to streamline its operations—winding down Citi Holdings, selling assets and improving efficiency in its global operations. The holding company was separated from Citi’s general operations to get rid of the toxic assets that remained on the company balance sheet.
“…the markets are increasingly recognizing who we are…” Pandit told CNBC. The company has made progression in its global business and trading arms and will “have the market appreciate even more what Citi is,” he added.
You know, it’s really not that easy being Sandy Weill. Most if not all the institutions at which he spent significant time in his life at get zero respect, and even those on the inside have no pride (in fact they’re downright embarrassed to tell their friends and family where they are all day). Call it the Curse of the Weill Taint, if you will. Anyway, the big guy has more or less given up on doing anything about company morale at the Citi (previously he’d planned some sort of pep rally that involved him, Vikram, a whole lot of face paint, plus a Chuck Prince-shaped piñata, but that plan went to hell the day he found out he’s not allowed within 200 feet of the building). And so, he’s set his sights elsewhere. Read more »
Talk whatever shit you want about the former Citi chairman, and I’m sure you already have, but the man has feelings. Lots of ‘em, which he unloaded on the Times over the weekend. Sandford looks at his old firm and his heart bleeds for what it’s become, namely a place where no one will take his calls and his name is under a Do Not Admit list at 399 Park Avenue. Once the most majestic bank in all the land, thanks to Weill rolling up his sleeves and cobbling it together from repurposed Monster Truck parts, SDubs aches over the fact that this pile of garbage “will never be same company that it was.” And he acknowledges, from his office on the 46th floor of the General Motors, which he for some reason needs (in addition to “a few” assistants, and pictures of himself all over the walls), that a little bit of that is his fault. Here’s what Sandy Weill did wrong, according to Sandy Weill:
* Recommending Chuck Prince as his successor, who “let Citi’s balance sheet balloon and took on huge risks”
Here’s what Sandy Weill didn’t do wrong, according to Sandy Weill:
* Recruiting Bob Rubin
* The whole Glass-Steagall thing
* Firing Jamie Dimon
* Taking the jet to Cabo shortly after the bank received an asston of money from the government
* Whatever else you’re thinking, and trying to pin on him
As the shit started to hit the fan Weill tried to help, of course, as he is a mensch and the only who can fix this thing, but it was no use. Fools running the place didn’t want to hear from him.
Starting in late 2007, he began approaching some members of Citi’s board about returning to help with its recovery. He tried first when the board was looking to replace Mr. Prince as C.E.O., and later after Vikram Pandit got the job. At the time, Mr. Weill imagined that he would be welcomed. “I had 50 years of experience,” he says. “I think I was a pretty good student of the markets, and the business. I had a good feel of things. I felt that just because I retired didn’t mean my brain went to mush. Maybe I could help.” No one responded to his offers.
You know who would’ve responded to his offers, had he not been fired for catching a BJ on the company jet? Todd Thomson.
Mr. Thomson was forced out in 2007, Mr. Weill was one of his first calls: “I unloaded to Sandy,” Mr. Thomson says.
And while the two are still tossing around the idea to start a fund together with a bunch of ex-Citi employees where no one’s going to give you shit for accepting a blow job, or whatever, from a willing CNBC employee, Toddy-boy doesn’t do Sandy much good vis-a-vis gaining access to the building in order to go down in history as the guy who saved Citigroup, does he? So for now, all Sands can do is reflect. His wife, Joan, is a little bit more angry about the situation and by angry we mean she has an actual list of people she blames for hurting her husband, who she’s planning on murdering.
For those of you losing sleep over the thought of shrinkage at the house of Citi, DO NOT FEAR: despite calls by persons with a clue, the great big behemoth wants you to know that’s never going to happen. On a conference call yesterday, chief financial officer Gary Crittenden told analysts– worried that this last quarter’s results were a sign of great things to come– that the bank doesn’t have “any intention to break up,” and, in fact, is meeting with contractors next week to discuss adding on a master bedroom (including his and her sinks, natch) and deck.
Citigroup doubles cash to cope with markets [IHT via DealBook]