Richard "Keep the Faith" Parsons is chillaxing in Hawaii this week (yes, he's there to give a speech at the University, but don't assume time for a little R&R won't be squeezed in), where he took 5 to riff on sharing responsibility for the current state of affairs up in this piece:
"Everybody participated in pumping up this balloon. Now the balloon has deflated," he said Monday. "Everybody, in reality, has some part of the blame. But it's much more in the culture to find a villain and vilify the villain."
Citi's (and his) minor role in the sitch:
Parsons said as a board member since the mid-1990s, he shares some of the responsibility "for where we find ourselves."
"That's one of the reasons I took this job," he said.
Citi's presence as a powerhouse institution:
"Any time you have these financial crises, the bad news seems to overwhelm all the good news," he said. "But within the envelope, Citigroup is still a very powerful, vibrant, highly profitable, good bank."
And potentially roughhousing the President in a pickup game:
The 6-foot-4 Parsons, who celebrated his 61st birthday on Saturday, said he may have been able to take Obama in a pickup game of one-on-one back in the day. But he isn't so confident today.
"When you get older, you have resort to a more physical form of basketball," he said. "You have to put a body on somebody and they don't like you to do that with the president."