With Citi’s shares plunging more than 22% in a single day, the bank has officially entered a state of emergency. Chief executive Vikram Pandit is increasingly looked at as vulnerable, with pressure from board members and government officials bearing down on him. Tomorrow there may be an emergency meeting for employees at Citi’s downtown headquarters, according to people familiar with the matter.
Charlie Gasparino has been hammering away at Citi’s insistence that Pandit’s job is safe. As we’ve learned in the past year, top executives on Wall Street always have the full support of the board of directors until suddenly they don’t. According to Gasparino, Pandit’s reversal on the sale of Smith Barney–he opposed the sale in November and relented now–has drawn attention to the executives shortcomings and created the impression that he is indecisive and ineffectual.
The talk of an emergency meeting has spread through the ranks within Citi’s headquarters. The problem, however, is that there may be little Pandit can do. His past performances have not been exactly inspirational. What could Pandit say to the Citi-zens that might displace the impression that they are aboard a sinking ship?