Shakespeare's Hamlet contemplated deep philosophical questions -- "To be, or not to be?" In Corporate America, chieftains also engage in profound thoughts: Should I take the free corporate jet, or start my own multibillion-dollar hedge fund?
That's a question Sandy Weill has probably been thinking about. He's had a lot more free time since he left his post as CEO of Citigroup
Apparently bored, Weill wanted to start his own private equity firm (not unlike many folks on Wall Street nowadays). He would bring in his billionaire buddies as investors, such as Saudi Arabia's Prince Alwaleed bin Talal. Speculation even had him roping in a few Citigroup colleagues to help run the show.
Not surprisingly, Citigroup's board was hardly thrilled with this. After all, Weill's contract has a non-compete clause. How would it look if Weill continued to get his perks while working for a non-Citigroup entity, especially if those perks helped subsidize his new venture's operating costs?
Citigroup's board knows the importance of keeping up appearances for the media. They may also remember the recent outrage over the megasized severance package for former Morgan Stanley
The board's rumblings seem to have made an impact. This week, Weill indicated that he would remain chairman until April 2006. Yes, he gets to keep the jet -- but at least Citigroup's board is taking corporate governance issues seriously.
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Fool contributor Tom Taulli does not own shares mentioned in this article.