Top Citi Executives Decline Retention and Incentive Awards

Citigroup Inc. (C) CEO Vikram Pandit, along with chairman Winfried Bischoff and CFO Gary Crittenden, declined retention and incentive awards, according to a recent filing through the Securities and Exchange Commission. The announcement came in concert with recent statements that Pandit and Bischoff — along with Robert Rubin, who ended up resigning in early January, anyway — would take no bonuses for 2008. Citi’s other executive committee members received stock awards set to vest under the condition that the price of Citi’s common stock shares meet specified targets during the next four years. Half of the awards bear a price target of $17.85 and the other half targets $10.61. These awards were granted “for the benefit of eligible Citi employees…with incentive compensation in excess of $100,000,” according to the SEC filing. Citi is the recipient of $45 billion through the Treasury Department‘s Troubled Asset Relief Program (the only other institution to receive that much is Bank of America Corp. (BAC)), with $25 billion initially injected Oct. 28 as a transaction within the Capital Purchase Program (CPP). The second injection of $20 billion came around with the creation of another TARP vehicle, the Targeted Investment Program, which so far has only made two injections — Citi’s additional $20 billion and the $20 billion supplement to CPP funds given Jan. 16 to BofA. Although it’s been repeatedly argued by outgoing Treasury secretary Henry Paulson that only healthy banks were given capital injections, the question remains — after almost three months of capital injections in these banks and consensus from both BofA and Citi officials that 2009 offers a bleak outlook — whether they will stay afloat on their own or require even more funding going forward. Citi’s rocky start in 2009 A source within Citi confirmed to HousingWire in early January that the bank was not considering the sale of its Smith Barney brokerage unit days before the announcement in mid-January that Citi had entered an agreement with Morgan Stanley (MS) to launch a joint venture of Citi’s brokerage business and Morgan’s wealth management business. Then, days later, Citi posted an $8.29 billion fourth-quarter loss — bringing the total net 2008 loss to $18.7 billion — and subsequently reported it would reorganize itself into two businesses, essentially undoing the ’98 merger between Citicorp and Travelers Group. If Citi isn’t teetering on the edge of collapse, it certainly seems to be buckling down amid steep losses. The fact that Pandit and leading executives have decided to forgo bonuses and other incentives suggests some kind of acknowledgement that the capital just isn’t there anymore. It’s been argued by critics that the late-’90s merger, Citigroup had simply become too large to manage. Even with The Travelers Companies Inc. (TRV: 38.72 ()) having spun off of the massive company in 2002, taking the insurance underwriting business with it, a giant banking entity still stood in the wake. Considering the massive fourth-quarter losses and restructuring plans reported recently, critics’ fears of an unmanageable giant corporation don’t seem entirely unfounded. Write to Diana Golobay 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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