Photo: Bloomberg TV
Willem Buiter, Citi’s Chief Economist, is one of our favourite experts on the global economy.His sharp verbal insights are often characterised by graphic imagery. In a recent op-ed for the FT, he said that a European banking union would ‘sever the poisonous umbilical cord‘ between sovereigns and banks.
He’s also known for being very frank. In a recent report to clients, he declared that Greece would leave the European Monetary Union on June 1, 2013.
In a new profile in the Wall Street Journal, Suzanne Kapner reports that Buiter’s sharp tongue has made life difficult for some of Citi’s other units. From the report:
While Mr. Buiter’s trenchant views are helping to raise Citigroup’s profile among big clients—who don’t pay for his research, but are rewarded with access to him—they are often not well received by the government officials who are the subject of his critiques. Mr. Buiter admits that his opinions can sometimes make life difficult for Citigroup executives.
“They say, ‘My God, what have you said? I have to have meetings with these people,'” he said.
In March, when Mr. Buiter wrote that Spain was at “a greater risk of a sovereign restructuring than ever before,” Spanish officials castigated him at a public forum and called Citigroup to complain, according to people familiar with the situation.
Read the whole profile at WSJ.com.