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Fixing Citigroup: Shake-Up Or Breakup?

Despite management changes at Citigroup made late Monday, investors still aren’t happy. There are only two ways to unlock shareholder value, depending on whom you talk to: Either make some radical changes at the C level or break up the company. Sue Herera had two investors with large holdings in Citigroup on “Power Lunch” to debate the issue.

Ralph Cole of Ferguson Wellman Capital, which owns over half a million dollars worth of Citigroup, would have liked to see an outsider appointed to the COO role rather than division head Robert Druskin. Investors are getting sick of CEO Prince’s talk, he says. As a result, the company’s investor day Thursday will be a “non-event.”

Bill Smith is president and CEO of Sam Advisors. His firm owns 50,000 shares of Citigroup, and he’s all for breaking up the company. Spinning off the investment, international and domestic banks of Citigroup could boost the stock to the mid-$60s in the near term and to $80 to $90 in three to four years. “Adding another layer of management to an already bloated bureaucracy isn’t going to get this done,” he says.

Cole thinks that Citigroup is too big to breakup. Smith counters that “too big” is the problem.