Vikram Pandit Loves Himself Some Collard Greens


I don't think I have to tell any of you that working at Citi, particularly over the last year or so and especially if one is the CEO, can be kind of a bitch. Obviously Uncle Vik knows what we're talking about. Still, those closest to him know a few never fail tricks for getting Pandit to give us a smile. A pony ride around the lobby. A tickle of his vickles. A visit to the set of Two Coreys. A desktop Zen Garden for him to practice raking sand on until the real thing comes through. Nothing gets VP to bust out a wide one, though, like a surprise lunch order from his favorite restaurant, Sylvia's. Crain's reported yesterday that the head of the Big C is a huge fan of the Queen of Soul Food, so much so that he placed an order from the restaurant for forty executives visiting his office last week. Since we count ourselves among those who like our Vikram jolly and round, we obviously had to get in touch with Syl to find out what the Pandito Special entails, so that we might keep it on file, and call in the order as a li'l pick-me-up on a particularly low day for VP.

According to a rep for the eatery, Vikram "likes the classics-- Southern fried chicken, collard greens, potato salad, mac&cheese, and banana pudding." Pandito first tried Sylvia's a few months ago when he was visiting a new Citi branch in Harlem, got "hooked" and has placed "a lot" of orders ever since (not just for big groups but also "parties of four" and sometimes just himself). And he's not alone! Supposedly Morgan Stanley and Merrill Lynch have both held "Sylvia's Days" wherein the restaurant takes over the firms' cafeterias, with an SD being planned for the Big C soon. We were also told by people familiar with the matter-- VP's gastroenterologist-- that he's a huge fan of barbeque and typically requests it when traveling, though Dinosaur BBQ is yet to be thrown any love, an issue one would hope will be rectified during Vikram's Upper Manhattan Food Tour of 2010 (an experience no to be missed-- tickets go on sale tomorrow).
Soul Food Coming To Your Door [Crain's via NYM]


Former Citigroup Chairman Surprised/Not Surprised By Vikram Pandit's Departure, Has Some Vino To Sell You

According to Dick Parsons, who stepped down as chairman of Citi in March because Mike Mayo told him to, last week's news that Pandit had left the building for good was "somewhat" surprising, while at the same time, sort of expected, because whipping morbidly obese companies into shape just really isn't Vikram's thing. “You need seasoned, honed managers who can cause a 250,000, 300,000-personnel organization to march” with direction, Parsons said in a weekend interview at his Tuscan vineyard in Montalcino, Italy. “Vikram will tell you, ‘That’s not my bag.’” Pandit, 55, produced “every good idea that we had” to prevent Citigroup’s collapse during the financial crisis, Parsons said. New CEO Michael Corbat, 52, who previously ran the Citi Holdings unit, is well-equipped to lead the firm as it cuts costs and sells unwanted assets, the ex-chairman said. “Mike Corbat, who I knew back in the day when he ran the Holdings operation, is just that kind of man,” said Parsons, 64, adding that he was “somewhat” surprised by the timing of Pandit’s exit. “The transition and change was, in the long term, not inevitable but appropriate.” Anyway, who wants wine? Parsons, visiting his Il Palazzone vineyard to inaugurate a cellar, said regulatory pressures will still be a challenge for the new management team. “Externally, it’s still going to be tough,” said Parsons, sipping a glass of his 2004 Brunello Riserva as he sat outside a stone house set on an ancient trail from Frankfurt to Rome. “To some extent, the regulatory/political community is still almost at war with the big banks.” Nelson Rockefeller introduced Parsons to fine wines. He plans to turn the hobby into a profitable business by doubling production of red wines that retail in the U.S. for as much as $130 a bottle. Parsons Sipping Red Wine Calls Pandit Exit ‘Appropriate’ [Bloomberg] Earlier: Vikram Pandit And Citigroup Not Yet On Same Page Re: Who Dumped Whom; Zen Gardens That Never Were: Vikram Pandit Doesn’t Have To Put Up With This Shit Anymore