Mike Mayo: ‘You Need a Jamie Dimon on Steroids to Run Citigroup’

CLSA analyst Mike Mayo spoke with FBN’s Charlie Gasparino about Citigroup (C) saying Vikram Pandit “inherited a tough company at a tough time” but his record so far as CEO “is not good.” Mayo also discussed the future of the bank saying “if any bank were to be broken up, it should probably be Citigroup.”

Here are the key highlights from the interview, courtesy of FOX Business Network:

On Citi CEO Vikram Pandit:
“Citigroup is a difficult company to run for anybody… You need a Jamie Dimon on steroids to run Citigroup. I think it’s difficult for anybody. I think Vikram Pandit inherited a tough company at a tough time…If he was to turn that around and the stock was to double the next few years it would be a different story. But as I sit here now, in Hong Kong, by the way, the record is not good so far for the CEO. Doesn’t mean it can’t change.”

On whether Citigroup should be broken up:
“Citigroup is unique in terms of its under-performance over the last decade. I think they are selling about a half a trillion dollars, under $2 trillion of assets. But maybe they should even a bit more. They’ve been in the major league for a long time, they haven’t performed. Maybe they should go back to the minor leagues. As a reminder, Citigroup is 10 times larger than it was during the start of the early ’90s recession. 10 times larger… But if any bank were to be broken up, it should probably be Citigroup.”

“I joined CLSA for the great independence. If I’m getting lack of access because I joined a firm with independence like this, I wonder what Paul Volcker would have to say about that since that’s one reason the whole Dodd/Frank bill is now law.”

On the future of Citigroup:
“They’ve always had that potential. You’re going to need a very strong leadership team with great corporate governance that’s able to execute very well to really realize the potential of this franchise. I think it’s tough for anybody.”

On the transparency culture at Citigroup still being unchanged:
“There’s several red flags that indicate to me that the culture has not changed as much as many people believe.”

On the Dodd/Frank Bill:
“It’s a step in the right direction. At least you have a couple more tools.”

On the possibility of Citigroup failing:
“Citigroup’s effectively failed four or five times over the last century. So is it possible, in the rest of my life will they potentially fail in economic terms? That’s certainly possible.”

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