Bloomberg is reporting today that "people with knowledge the deliberations" Citigroup is considering elevating Robert Druskin to the position of bank President. Druskin is currently the head of Citi's corporate and investment bank.
On Friday Citi's shares took off amid various somewhat complimentary rumors about a major reshuffle in the corporate structure or senior management. If anything, this latest report seems a bit of a let down. Does giving Druskin—already a senior level manager—a new title make that much of a difference if the rest of the team remains intact.
The flurry of rumors and trading activity in Citi shares on Friday had some calling for an SEC investigation into possible insider trading. Jim Cramer devoted several minutes of "Mad Money" to decrying Citi's refusal to clear up the rumors. The fact that some seemed to be trading on information about the shares was ruining the perception that the stock market is a level playing field, Cramer said.
An analyst quoted in today's Bloomberg report has a far more benign way of describing Friday's activities.
"What the stock price told you on Friday was that investors want change,'' said Richard Bove, an analyst at Punk Ziegel & Co. in Pinellas Park, Florida, who has a "buy'' rating on Citigroup.
Or is that really more benign? Clearly, investors don't usually buy up shares to show their dissatisfaction with the current management. This happens when traders know something—or think they know something—about changes that are about to happen with a company. So Bove's line is really just an endorsement of Cramer's theory of asymmetrical information.
Citigroup May Promote Druskin in Management Shake-Up [Bloomberg]