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In his latest column, Bloomberg View’s Jonathan Weil has some biting words for Citigroup CEO Vikram Pandit and the World Economic Forum.Weil essentially lays down a double whammy—asserting that Pandit’s ineffective leadership of Citigroup during the economic downturn is a perfect match for the unproductive nature of the World Economic Forum.
Maybe the distinction bestowed on Pandit should be of no surprise at all. Founded in 1971, the World Economic Forum describes itself as an international organisation of large corporations that is “committed to improving the state of the world” with “no political, partisan or national interests.” But it’s becoming hard not to suspect that the annual gathering in Davos has become a conclave for global elites to promote crony capitalism and state-backed enterprise, ensuring that national coffers remain available to be tapped for private gain.
Weil goes on to list a string of ways Pandit has misled the public and regulators about the stability of Citigroup while also receiving federal bailout money, adding that if former FDIC Chair Sheila Bair had her way, Pandit would’ve been fired years ago. He ultimately ends with this crushing line:
Maybe if Citigroup blows up again someday, they could put Pandit in charge of the whole conference.
The critical rhetorical surrounding the event in Davos—which could cost more than $71,000 to attendance—isn’t anything new, and it’s also not the first time that Pandit has been criticised for co-chairing the annual meeting—remember the quip bank analyst Mike Mayo made comparing Pandit’s knowledge of the economic crisis to Alec Baldwin’s knowledge of aeroplane etiquette?