The leadership change has raised questions about the future strategy at Citigroup , including what its course of action will be for its bad bank Citi Holdings.
According to Sterne Agee analyst Todd Hagerman, with the executives' departure, "the prospects of individual business unit sales (parts of GCB) are possible, particularly given Chairman O'Neill's long-standing record of creating shareholder value and at times speaking out in favor of company break-ups."
The analyst, however, sees the possibility of a full-scale break-up or spin- off of Citi Holdings as low.CLSA analyst Mike Mayo, a long-time critic of Vikram Pandit and Citigroup's management in general, is also calling for a sale of Citi Holdings assets/businesses. In an 8-point action plan for the new CEO, Mayo says the bank should either spin off Citi Holdings or integrate them back into the core franchise. Billionaire investor Wilbur Ross also believes Citigroup has become "too complex to manage." "Think about a Citibank -- myriad, complex businesses, each of which is difficult to understand, each of which has different risk matrices," Ross told CNBC. "And then compound that by an infinite amount of geography, languages, different regulations, different customs and different markets. It's a lot of complexity to have in any one organization, regardless of how well-run it is," he said. The analysts' comments might be little more than speculation at this point, but the idea might not be too far from new CEO Mike Corbat's thoughts. Corbat was the CEO of Citi Holdings and helped shrink the bad bank to less than 10% of assets from a peak of 40% in 2008. Earlier this year, former Citigroup Chairman Sandy Weill said it was time to "go and split up investment banking from banking," earlier this year, which was ironic considering Weill built Citi into the behemoth that it is. Weill told CNBC he applauded the board's decision to appoint Corbat as CEO. --Written by Shanthi Bharatwaj in New York
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