While the Wall Street Journal and the New York Post are calling for the heads of Citi board members whose oversight led the company right over the edge of oblivion, Duff McDonald, one of our favourite business writers, takes a look at seven stars who left (or were forced out) of Citi. It’s sort of like those ‘what if’ comic books: what if these seven had been at Citi? Would it have fallen apart?
Jamie Dimon: While the boy wonder of finance has admitted making decisions that have cost JPMorgan a pretty penny as well, his notorious risk aversion is something Citigroup could have used a big dose of over the past few years.
Mike Cavanagh: A long-time finance executive at Citigroup, including various roles at Smith Barney, Cavanagh jumped ship to join Dimon at Bank One in 2000. He has risen to the position of chief financial officer at JPMorgan Chase. He clearly runs a tighter ship than his peers at Citigroup.
Steve Black: One of Dimon’s cronies from his days running Smith Barney in the 1990s, Black left Citigroup in disgust after Dimon was forced out. Now co-head of JPMorgan’s investment bank along with Bill Winters, Black chose to avoid some of the more toxic investments that Maheras snapped up with abandon at Citigroup.
Heidi Miller: Miller started as Dimon’s assistant at travellers way back in 1992, then subsequently rose to become CFO of Citigroup before bolting for dot-com highflier Priceline in 2000. She wasn’t gone for long, and rejoined Dimon at Bank One in 2002. She currently runs JPMorgan Chase’s Treasury and Securities Services unit.
Bob Lipp: President of Chemical Bank way back in the day, Lipp hooked up with Weill and Dimon in 1986 and helped assemble Citigroup over much of the next two decades. After clashing with Weill, he eventually left to join Dimon at JPMorgan Chase before retiring earlier this year to join the private equity outfit Brysam Global Partners.
Bob Willumstad: Once considered a lock to succeed Weill at the helm of Citi, Willumstad was passed over for Prince and left soon thereafter to form Brysam with fellow Citigroup exile Marge Magner. Brysam, incidentally, is primarily funded by…JPMorgan Chase.
Frank Bisignano: Currently chief administrative officer of JPMorgan Chase, Bisignano held the same role at Citigroup’s global corporate and investment bank from 2000 to 2002. He left Citi to hook up with Dimon in 2005.
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