When it was reported yesterday that Citi, laughing in the face of John Thain's mistakes, was undertaking a $10 million renovation to Vikram Pandit and his lieutenants' offices, we were skeptical the bank could come up with a reason why the redecorations were necessary and not a waste of (taxpayer) money. This was their first attempt:
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.
Kind of a fail. But they came back today with more, and now we're almost convinced this really will help the Big C in the long run:
The new floor plan features offices with glass walls, designed to create a more open atmosphere. It has common areas to encourage spontaneous meetings of executives, according to people familiar with the matter.
Plus, sacrifices are being made, and those should not go uncounted:
People familiar with the company's plans said that certain design elements have been nixed since the initial planning phase, including a Zen garden.