Citigroup has a lot riding on one upcoming test — which means there’s also a lot riding on the man who’s leading the charge.
The Federal Reserve’s annual stress test will determine the future of the bank as well as Citi CEO Michael Corbat. For the past two years, Citi has failed to meet the requirements of the test, meant to assess how well a bank will do in crisis. This year, Citi can’t afford to fail.
Which is why Corbat is resting his hopes on a former executive with a reputation for solving huge problems.
In April 2014, the WSJ reported that the former head of Citibank, Gene McQuade, came out of retirement to help Citi pass the upcoming stress test. As the results draw near, the pressure is on to see whether or not McQuade can fix this one last problem.
According to a Wall Street Journal profile, McQuade grew up in Manhattan on the Lower East Side. He paid for college by driving around a taxi. Before working at Citi, McQuade ran FleetBoston Financial and was offered president roles at Bank of America Corp. and Freddie Mac.
At Freddie Mac, McQuade was in charge of handling an accounting scandal. He joined Citigroup as the head of Citibank in 2009, when the bank was still recovering from the financial crisis.
People who have worked with McQuade described him as an ideal person to have in a crisis. He’s known for making tough changes and keeping cool in stressful situations. So far, he has led Citi’s efforts to remodel it risk assessment methods and bulk up on compliance roles at the bank.
McQuade, 66, said he plans to leave after the stress test, regardless of whether or not Citi passes.
The Fed will release first-round results of the stress test today, and plans to rule on Citigroup’s plan on March 11, according to the article.