) -- Andrew Hall, the head of


(C) - Get Report

trading unit Phibro, is quietly pushing for what is being called "a quiet divorce" from the parent company and he has had preliminary talks with one possible suitor, the

New York Times

reports, citing people with knowledge of the talks.

Hall has discussed with Citigroup leadership a number of possibilities, including a spinoff, the



Hall is due a nine-figure payday in a couple of weeks, compensation that has been criticized by the White House. The


reports that Hall is owed the money under his contract. But the trouble is that his contract is with Citigroup, which has received about $45 billion in taxpayer aid, the newspaper notes.

The news comes as the House on Friday

passed a bill

that would empower shareholders to vote on management compensation packages. The bill essentially would bar companies from giving bonuses that may embolden executives to make risky bets -- bets that played a role in the financial crisis.

The bill's passage is widely seen as motivated by public outrage over troubled firms such as Citigroup -- firms that have accepted government bailout money -- handing out hefty bonuses.


reports Citigroup said it's "evaluating the best way forward for our stakeholders." A company spokeswoman wouldn't comment specifically on the talks referred to in the



Citigroup said the Phibro unit operates under a pay-for-performance contract, with pay determined at the end of the year as a percentage of the profits the business earns for the parent company,



Phibro is a small commodities trading firm in Westport, Conn. The operation has netted Citigroup about $2 billion over the last five years, the



-- Reported by Joseph Woelfel in New York