Either we're getting soft in our old age or just kind of exhausted by the CEO witch hunt, but the following sentence in today's Wall Street Journal actually made us feel a twinge of pity for Citigroup CEO Vikram Pandit.
In November, as part of the sweeping rescue, federal officials privately discussed the possibility of replacing Mr. Pandit, who became CEO in December 2007. But the government decided not to remove him, in large part due to a dearth of qualified replacements.
Ugh. Can you imagine if that were you? Like if your boss was all, "We think you suck, but we may as well keep you on and allow you to absorb the blame for the years of mismanagement here, until someone better comes along. Then we can make a big production of firing you, and act like you were the thing that's been holding us back all this time." Sure, Vikram hasn't done the best job and he hasn't been the best communicator, but he's only been in the top job for over a year; it wasn't like he was the one singlehandedly operating the helium pump that caused Citi to swell into a bulbous misshapen monster. (You try wresting the company jet away from Sandy Weill.) It just seems kind of unfair, and totally underminer-y, of the "federal officials" who put that out there. Now how is he supposed to gain the confidence of his own employees — never mind shareholders or the American taxpayers, who may soon own a 40 percent share in Citigroup? It's just embarrassing.
Of course, unlike the rest of us, Pandit can soothe himself by going over to his private safe, extracting a bar of pure gold, and rubbing its smooth surface up and down his face.
U.S. Eyes Large Stake in Citi [WSJ]