The NY Post is speculating that Vikram's days at the helm of Citi (NYSE:C) may be at an end. While for whatever odd reason everyone is focusing on the upcoming stress test results, the media machine seems to be more and more set on scapegoating both Vikram and Lewis (especially with Cuomo's "leaked" letter yesterday), as such Zero Hedge would not be too surprised to see these two particular heads roll, especially if there actually are any adverse stress test surprises, which, as Zero Hedge posted, is highly unlikely (as it has become a "take home" exam). The Post muses:
With the bank stress tests wrapping up, sources tell The Post that regulators think they might have to make the bold move of removing Pandit to signal Washington is taking as hard a line with the banks as it did with General Motors when it effectively ousted GM CEO Rick Wagoner.
Amid criticism that Citi hasn't moved fast enough to clean up its balance sheet and speculation that Citi may need to raise more cash amid rising writedowns from consumer debt, sources said there's a growing sense Pandit might have to be sacrificed.
Such a move isn't without its own risks, though. In an interview with The Post, Citi CFO Ned Kelly said, "Replacing [Pandit] would be dramatically de-stabilizing both for Citi and the system."
Replacing Pandit might be the pound of flesh some shareholders want, but it's possible such a move would do little to help the firm. Indeed, sources said possible successors like Kelly are loyal to Pandit, and others like Gary Crittenden, the new CEO of Citi Holdings, may not be willing to take on the role.
Of course, one has to question the credibility of Post sources, however all signs are pointing to a growing antagonism between the administration and the two CEOs, increasing seen as a symbol of the failed Wall Street of Q4, as opposed to the high flying Wall Street of Q1 (Q2 which will exclude December "write offs", unless somehow the banks pro forma all their losses in a February 29 hypothetical date which will hit the books in 2012, and will have much less one-off sources of taxpayer subsidized revenue will be yet another story).
In other news, readers may want to line up in front of Citi HQ early next week, where the market's real bellwether, Geoffrey Raymond, will be collecting inspirational annotations for the completion of his latest masterpiece, the annotated Vikram (available for pre-sale).