Following Citigroup's announcement that it would cut 11,000 jobs and restructure its businesses, CFO John Gerspach told analysts and investors the move was a "fairly comprehensive initial foray" into its new strategy.
Gerspach fielded questions Wednesday at Goldman Sachs' Financial Services Conference about the progress of the bank's rightsizing and whether this round represented the bulk of what the company was expecting under its new chief executive, Michael Corbat.
The phrase is a juxtaposition in and of itself, but an accurate one. While Citigroup has been on a downsizing trend since 2007 (counting this announcement, headcount is down 33 percent from 375,000 employees at peak), it represents the first major, strategic decision by Corbat, who is only 50 days into the job.
Investors like the strategy — for now. The stock closed higher Wednesday by 6.33 percent. Nomura Analyst Glenn Schorr said the announcement was a "step in the right direction," while CLSA Analyst Mike Mayo called the reorganization "an initial 'tremor'" where an earthquake is needed.
With activist investor Trillium Management pushing for Citigroup to study a break-up, it would seem this would be the first of many defining announcements from the House of Corbat.