I couldn't be more displeased.
My ire has nothing to do with Prince, who, by most accounts, is an excellent lawyer and strong executive who has navigated the Citi through troubled waters in recent years. Instead, I find myself confused by the company's willingness to once again hand near absolute power to a single executive. By "absolute power," I'm referring to consolidating the two most important positions -- CEO and chairman -- into one office, which Weill held during his entire tenure at Citi, and Travelers Group before that.
Here's why this matters: The chairman of the board, at least symbolically, is the shareholder's representative in corporate governance. As such, he's supposed to be the CEO's boss. That's why the Sarbanes-Oxley legislation of 2002 so fervently encouraged independent directors on corporate boards.
Sadly, it doesn't seem like much has changed at Citigroup since "SOX" went into effect. A check of the most recent proxy statement shows that Prince is the primary senior executive on the board. The remaining majority, including Motley Fool Stock Advisor pick Time Warner
With its checkered past, Citigroup should know better than to repeat history. Indeed, as much as Prince strikes me as a good guy, history is littered with stories of good guys put in bad positions, with disastrous results. I wouldn't be surprised if that's what happened with a few of Citi's regulatory tangles. Investors deserve better.
Find fully compliant Foolishness here:
- Be afraid. It's a nightmare on Sarbanes Street.
- Wait. Did Sarbanes-Oxley strike again?
- Thanks, SOX. Going private may be the new look for public firms.
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Fool contributor Tim Beyers likes Citigroup's credit cards, but not its corporate governance. Tim didn't own shares in any of the companies mentioned in this story at the time of publication. You can find out what's in his portfolio by checking Tim's Fool profile . Dow Chemical is a Motley Fool Income Investor pick. The Motley Fool has an ironclad disclosure policy .