Here's the letter Bob Rubin sent out to Citigroup yesterday to announce the Vikram Pandit's promotion. It's vaguely convincing, until you realize that in invisible ink reads the message, "I'm telling you as a friend, short this thing like you'd short a sinking ship" (on hard copies of the note, of course, not electronic versions, I know how this stuff works). And also, that Rubes asked his buddy in IT if there was a way to "make it so the e-mail goes directly to spam? Or put it in some sort of an attachment that no one can open?"
After considering the qualifications of a wide field of internal and external candidates, the Board has unanimously selected Vikram Pandit, one of the most respected leaders in the financial services industry today, as the right person to lead our company. He will also join our Board of Directors. In addition, the Board has appointed Sir Win Bischoff, who has served our company so well since 2000 and notably as acting CEO since early November, to join the Board as its Chairman. They will assume these roles immediately. With Vikram and Win in place, I will return to the roles where I feel I am most useful to Citi – as a director and Chairman of the Executive Committee of our Board and as advisor to the Chairman and CEO.
This is an important and challenging time for our company, as it is for many companies involved in financial services. The combination of Vikram’s deep executive experience and long history as a strategic thinker makes him the outstanding choice to be Citi’s CEO. He joined Citi upon its acquisition, earlier this year, of the multi-strategy hedge fund he founded in 2005.
Before forming Old Lane, he had a distinguished 22-year career at Morgan Stanley, where he served as President and Chief Operating Officer of the firm’s Institutional Securities Group. During his time at Citi, he has come to know this company and its people, and he has earned the respect of managers and directors alike for his incisive intellect and ability to balance risk and opportunity in making and executing tough decisions. The Board is unanimous in its conviction that, as part of a new generation of executives in this industry, Vikram is the right leader to build on the exceptional strengths of this great company and take the steps necessary to lead us forward.
Citi’s international franchise is one of our greatest strengths, and where we have many promising growth opportunities – and Win is the consummate global banker. He has extensive international experience both in senior leadership positions and with clients from all over the world. He has a keen understanding of Citi’s diverse strengths, its many growth opportunities and what is needed for Citi to realize its tremendous potential. More recently, as many of you know, he has done a terrific job as Citi’s acting CEO. Together with the management team and me, he helped stabilize our company and maintain the momentum of our businesses. He helped ensure that we moved forward to improve our capital base and risk management capabilities and to position the company effectively to address timely and critical issues. He will serve us well as Chairman. Citi plays an important and very special role in the global economy, and I care enormously for this company and its people. I look forward to a long and active role at Citi.
Thank you for your patience and hard work through these last challenging months. We have much work ahead of us and your continued support and dedication to our company is greatly appreciated and recognized. Please join us in welcoming Vikram and Win to their new positions.