Perhaps Citigroup can finally sleep.
The bank fielded dozens of questions Wednesday at its annual shareholder meeting over impending regulation, the bank's strategy, and even the status of personal accounts. The exhaustive, three-hour question-and-answer session—in a marked difference from prior years—saw shareholders praise management and the board for revitalizing the bank's strategy.
"The Mike & Mike show is off to a great start," said Mike Mayo, outspoken analyst-cum-Citi shareholder at CLSA, referring to the presenting duet of chairman Mike O'Neill and freshman CEO Mike Corbat.
Citigroup shareholders descended upon midtown Manhattan's Hilton Hotel with axes to grind. The prior year, the bank failed the Federal Reserve's stress tests, offered an underperforming CEO a multi-million dollar pay package, and botched a deal to sell its brokerage to Morgan Stanley.
The O'Neill-led board moved swiftly in October to replace Pandit with Corbat, who wasted little time identifying $1.1 billion in cost cuts and exiting non-core businesses.
"We've seen Mike [Corbat] operate. He's a manager, he's decisive, and he gets results," said O'Neill in praise of the work done thus far in his tenure. Citigroup shares rose as much as 2 percent intraday.
The bulk of Wednesday's questioning concerned not just the current turnaround, but also the well-telegraphed idea that Citigroup, ultimately, could get drastically smaller, or even break up. Both executives said doing so at present would be doing so in an "uneconomic" way.