Under scrutiny from just about everyone on Wall Street, the nice folks on Capitol Hill, the SEC, and our own Bill Mann, Citigroup
Citigroup's chief Sandy Weill, while addressing the company's woes at a financial services conference Friday, promised to, "... nip the things we did wrong," according to reports from Reuters. Looks like Carpenter's the first "nip."
You have to wonder what Weill determined Carpenter knew about the seemingly sketchy dealings at Salomon. Did Carpenter approve of, even tacitly, now-departed analyst Jack Grubman's actions? Did he know about Bernie Ebbers's grants of hot initial public offerings? We can't assume Carpenter knew anything about anything here, of course, but one thing's for sure: Congress and the New York attorney general both want to know who knew what and are working to uncover it.
In the statement announcing the management changes, Weill said, "There are certain industry practices that we should all be concerned about, and although we have found nothing illegal, looking back, we can see that certain of our activities do not reflect the way we believe business should be done."
Well, OK. Citigroup's trying to paint itself as the forerunner of change in a troubled industry. We'll see.
Moving Carpenter out of his position is certainly a positive for the company, though. At least Weill is serious about getting Citigroup through its legal messes and onto a better path. Hopefully, the move represents a desire to have a clean slate from which to make some real changes in its investment banking business, and not a realization that the investment bank's shady way of operating was sanctioned all the way up to the very top.
It'll all come out in the wash, eventually. For now, consider this little management minuet a good thing for Citigroup.