Analysts On Citigroup: Either Fix It Or Sell It
Update: At 5 p.m., Citigroup announced Robert Druskin was named chief operating officer. He was the president and CEO of Citigroup's Global Corporate and Investment Banking Group. Despite rumors of her leaving, CFO Sally Krawcheck will stay. So will CEO Charles Prince. (Read the story here)
Citigroup – America’s largest bank – is trading at a new 52-week high for the second day in a row. Speculation continues about a shake-up in management, which is just what investors are begging for. CEO Charles Prince has failed to deliver, they say. The stock is stuck at $50, and there doesn’t seem to be any viable growth strategy in place. Maria Bartiromo had Jim Huguet of Great Companies and William Lefkowitz of VFinance Investments on “Closing Bell” today, and both analysts agreed – it’s time to either break up the company or find new management.
According to Huguet, over 15 years Citigroup readily returned 15% a year – until recently, when it started to earn 6% to 8%. “That’s not acceptable,” he says. Huguet didn’t want to speculate on which names to replace, but he sees Prince as the “leading candidate.”
Lefkowitz noted that the stock price of Citigroup has been virtually unchanged since December 2001. In contrast, banks like Wachovia, Bank of America and JPMorgan Chase are all doing well, and investment banks Lehman Brothers, Bear Sterns and Goldman Sachs are earning big money for shareholders.
Analyst disclosure: Both Jim Huguet and William Lefkowitz own stock in Citigroup.