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Unbreaking News: Sandy Weill Thinks There's Nothing Wrong With The Size of Citigroup

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But a hedge fund manager with a virulent tongue does, and there’s some bad air between the two of them. Recently Weill, Citigroup CEO Emeritus, was quoted in the press as defending the giant bank he built. “Being large and having a strong balance sheet enables a company to withstand the financial turmoil that happens every now and then in global markets,” Weill said.
In response a former banker turned hedgie manager (of Second Curve Capital) described the company as a “supersized jackalope.” And he didn't stop there:

Why Weill thinks that investors would take comfort in that statement, I can’t begin to understand…Citi has gotten so big, and lumbering, and broadly diversified that it simply can’t generate meaningful organic growth anymore. The law of large numbers won’t allow it.
If all I wanted from my investment was an instrument that would “withstand financial turmoil” I’d simply buy Treasury bills and be done with it. Presumably Citigroup’s shareholders want something more than that.

Coming to Weill’s defense was the one other person on earth who doesn’t think Citigroup should be broken up, Saudi Prince Alwaleed bin Talal: “I am adamantly against breaking up Citigroup…I see this as a bad idea that should not even be considered.”
Portfolio's Felix Salmon has helpfully offered to arbitrate the fight. According to Salmon the problem with Citigroup is not that it's too big to grow. It's that it may be too big to manage. "If a strong leader could communicate a simple and effective vision for the company, the calls for its breakup would soon cease," Salmon writes. "But such people are hard to find."
This question doesn't really merit us making a Vizu poll, since the results will most likely be "No" (BSD) and "Yes" (everyone else), but tell us what you think, re: Should Citigroup break up?
Weill Says Big Is Beautiful; Hedge Fund Disagrees [DealBook]
Why Citigroup Should Be Broken Up - Now [Seeking Alpha]
Is Citigroup Too Big? [Portfolio]


Vikram Pandit Not Feeling Sandy Weill's Break-Up The Banks Call

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 it needing firefighters to use a giant pulley system to lift it out of bed and get around every day. Pandit said Citi, formed in Mr Weill’s time with mergers such as the acquisition of Travelers in 1998, had already gone back to the basics of banking, and aside from some global markets businesses had sold most of the units from that deal. “What’s left here is essentially the old Citicorp,” he told the Financial Times. “That’s a tried and proven strategy. Why did it work? Because it was a strategy based upon operating the business and serving clients and not a strategy based on dealmaking. That’s the fundamental difference.” So we're all on the same page here. Citi Chief Rejects Calls For Bank Splits [FT]

Sandy Weill Is Looking For Work

The former Citigroup CEO has stepped down from his latest gig.