It was a relatively slow Monday morning for me, spent trying to kick-start my brain with a few cups of coffee, when Bank of America (NYSE: BAC ) jolted me into action -- and gave me a great laugh.
Good ol' B of A announced Monday that it is hiring former Citigroup (NYSE: C ) CFO Sallie Krawcheck to take over the bank's global wealth and investment management operations. The Wall Street Journal also speculated that Krawcheck could enter the running to take over for Ken Lewis as CEO down the road.
For those not familiar with Krawcheck, she was a well-known analyst at Sanford C. Bernstein -- an arm of AllianceBernstein (NYSE: AB ) -- and eventually became CEO of the same firm. She later moved over to Citigroup, first to run the Smith Barney unit, then, in 2004, to take over as CFO of the company.
Many questions come to mind here. For instance, does Bank of America envy the position that Citigroup is currently in? Or did Krawcheck leave her 2004-2007 stint as Citi's CFO off of her resume?
After all, she disastrously misread the position that Citi was in back at the height of the bubble and helped set the stage for the collapse of the bank. In a Fortune interview back in 2006, she responded to a question about consumer borrowing by saying, "On a macro basis, I think consumers are acting pretty rationally. ... The consumer doesn't seem stretched. I wouldn't bet against U.S. consumers. They're pretty rational folks." Oops!
To be sure, the role she'll be taking at Bank of America seems more suited to her background and experience at Sanford and probably leaves less room to mess up as massively as she did at Citi. However, if Bank of America is really considering her for CEO, then the bank either has a weird sense of humor or hates its shareholders.
I'm all for some shaking-up in the C-suites at major financial institutions like B of A, Citi, JPMorgan Chase (NYSE: JPM ) and AIG (NYSE: AIG ) , but it'd be great to see them bringing in some new blood rather than simply recycling the same people who were at the helm when our economic Titanic was headed right for the iceberg.
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