Parsons Named Citigroup’s New Chairman

Richard Parsons denied whispers last November that he might become chairman of Citigroup Inc. (C). “I have every confidence that we have the right team on the field to pull this thing out,” Parsons, then chairman of Time Warner and a Citi director, said in a CNBC interview. Nonetheless, Wednesday afternoon, Citi announced that Richard D. Parsons, lead director and chair of the Board’s Nomination and Governance Committee, was appointed to succeed Sir Win Bischoff as Chairman of the Board of Directors. Parsons, 60, is best known for his positions as President, CEO and Chairman at Time Warner, where he led the company’s turnaround after its merger with America Online in 2000. He’s also served as chairman and CEO of Dime Bancorp, Inc. And he’s no stranger to Washington, as he has held various positions in government, including senior White House aide under President Gerald Ford, and most recently as a member of Obama’s transition economic advisory board. Bischoff’s exit and Parson’s appointment is just one change in the all-around shakeup at Citi since the start of the year, during which time Citi announced it would spin-off its brokerage business, reorganize itself into two separate entities, forego executive bonuses, and say goodbye to Citi senior counselor Robert Rubi, after he voluntarily stepped down from his position. Not to mention, the company reported 8.29 billion in fourth-quarter losses. Amid the changes, Parsons said one of his top priorities will be to “ensure the Board remains committed to strong, independent corporate governance – especially in today’s challenging economic conditions.” Citi’s CEO Vikram Pandit said Parson is an invaluable asset to Citi. “With his proven record of turning around Dime Bancorp and Time Warner, as well as his work with a wide range of government regulators, Dick is uniquely qualified to lead the Citi Board…  Dick will surely play an integral role in helping us place Citi back on the right track and returning the company to a position of sustainable financial success,” Pandit said. Outgoing chairman Sir Win, who has been with Citi since 2000, said he will retire from Citi later this year. Write to Kelly Curran at Disclosure: The author held no relevant investment positions when this story was published. Indirect holdings may exist via mutual fund investments. HW reporters and writers follow a strict disclosure policy, the first in the mortgage trade.

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