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Citi's Pandit on Slippery Slope: Leadership Matters

Stocks in this article: C

NEW YORK ( TheStreet) -- I decided this week that it would be bad form to beat up Bank of America's (BAC)Ken Lewis in this column once again. From my previous columns related to Lewis' continuous lack of accountability and apparently questionable integrity, I have received numerous comments from those who work with and for him saying he is a good guy caught in a bad situation. OK. I don't buy it completely, but the fact is that he's resigned now and I won't kick him on his way out. If nothing else, this will herald a new era for BofA, at least if they can somehow determine a successor for Lewis by the time he leaves.

But now that Bank of America has finally decided to move on from the troubled leadership of Lewis, what about Citigroup (C)? Promoted to Citigroup CEO in December of 2007, Vikram Pandit has had nothing but trouble as the head of one of the largest banks in the world. From the start, when Wells Fargo (WFC) eased in and took Wachovia out from under his nose, Pandit has been on a slippery slope. In times of crisis, we want our leaders to be decisive, charismatic and able to steer the ship through the storm. In many ways, it appears Pandit has none of these characteristics.

To be fair, Egon Zehnder International, the human resources consultancy that Citi hired to do a management audit, gave Pandit high marks in its recent report. Nonetheless, there are key leadership traits that have been missing in his past performance that should be considered.

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