If Vikram Pandit can't have his bonus, he will spoil Christmas for everybody. The Citigroup CEO sent out a memo today announcing that as part of their "ongoing expense-reduction efforts," Citigroup would not be able to afford to have the annual holiday installation, a massive model train set they've rented for the past twenty years, in the downstairs lobby this year. In the memo, Pandit referred to the decision as "difficult," which we assume refers to the temper tantrum complete with hyperventilation and No! No no no! Bob Rubin had when Pandit told him they were taking it away. Not that we blame him. The thing was pretty cool:
The installation features 30 separate train sets snaking around a replica of Manhattan's skyline, panoramas of the Adirondack and Catskills mountains and a miniature drive-in theater playing the final shootout scene with actor Gary Cooper in the movie High Noon.
But seeing as it comes with a price tag of $240,000, this is probably a good call for the beleaguered bank to make. Of course, not everyone thinks so. "I think it's a pretty serious mistake on the part of Citi," Christopher Dunham, 72, the Broadway set designer who designed the installation, told Bloomberg. "It's money well spent. This is the cheapest form of advertising." Everyone's a critic.
Citi Derails Holiday Toy-Train Exhibit as Credit Crunch Deepens [Bloomberg]