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Citigroup Laughs In The Face Of John Thain's Mistakes

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Most people here are well-aware that we have a soft spot for Tickle a Vickle Pandit, the CEO whose jolly elfin visage once had the power to do wonders for the bank's shares. But I don't even think we can help him get him out of this one.* Bloombergreports that Citi will spend about $10 million on new offices for Pandito and his lieutenants. Here's the TARP-taking firm's explanation for why this isn't a big deal:

"Senior executives in our corporate headquarters are moving from two floors to smaller, simpler offices on a single floor...Based on estimates made when the project was initiated, we expect to generate savings in the next few years well in excess of the project costs."

Meanwhile, we have it on good authority Charlie Gasparino is tapping his Citi sources in the hopes someone will leak the itemized list of new furniture coming Vik's way, including a $500,000 commode, except in this case it actually will be a toilet, and not a fancy cabinet.
*Though maybe this is an attempt to convince people Citi will be profitable at some point between now and fifty years from now, and that this is therefor an insignificant expense? Or Prince, like O'Neal, had decorated his office in the style of Studio 54, and Pandit deemed it uninhabitable?


John Thain Kept His Promise To Never Redecorate An Office To The Tune Of $10 Million Again

In February 2010, a year after he'd been fired from Bank of America Merrill Lynch for redecorating his office with $90,000 area rugs, $1,500 garbage cans, and $20,000 light fixtures, and just before he started his job as CEO of CIT Group, John Thain made a bold claim. "I think I'll keep my office exactly the way it is,"  he told Bloomberg TV. At the time, we went on record saying that there was no way Thain would stick to this pledge, because like any other junkie with a substance abuse problem-- in Thain's case, fabulous furniture-- he was at the stage of the recovery process when you have no idea how truly brutal and demanding the road ahead will be. You want to overcome the demons, and you'll certainly try, but you're naive enough to think that you're bigger than the drugs and it'll happen on the first attempt. We assumed that, like most fiends, he would relapse at least once or twice, especially considering the high risk environment he was about to go into, which was the hideous office of his predecessor at CIT, a place that had never met good taste. Today, however, we stand corrected. According to Fox Business News' Senior Interior Decorator Charlie Gasparino, who first rose to fame with his report on Thain's decorating spree at Merrill, JT has kept his word. "Sources tell the FOX Business Network that Thain’s new office is a low-key affair, far different than the $1.22 million renovated palace he had as CEO of Merrill Lynch that became the object of scorn during the financial crisis. ‘Lots of plastic and formica, and no expensive paintings or area rugs,’ is how one visitor described it to FOX Business. Gone are the $35,000 ‘commode on legs’ and $1400 ‘parchment waste can,’ according to one person with direct knowledge of the matter. ‘It looked like an insurance office…he seems to have learned his lesson,’ this person said.” He may have broken out in hives for the first three weeks, he may have wanted to rip the wallpaper down in a psychotic rage, he may have been serious when he came home after Day 1 and told his wife, "I may have to quit my job tomorrow," but, god damn it, he stuck to his promise and for that we should reward him. CIT GROUP CEO JOHN THAIN’S OFFICE LOOKS “FAR DIFFERENT” FROM MERRILL LYNCH OFFICE [FBN]