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Tales Of The Citi

First on Fast Money, hear from Vikram Pandit, the brand new Chief Executive of Citigroup. What will he do to rebuild the nation’s largest bank?

Why do you want this job?

“This is one of the world’s great financial institutions,” says Pandit, “The brand, the franchise, the presence around the world, the capability it has is enormous. And when you look at the future of the financial services business and pair that against the capabilities of this organization – the opportunities are tremendous.”

Did you dream of this job?

“Not when I started,” he says. “But I’m delighted to be here.”

Is everything on the table?

“I’m not going to speculate on anything,” Pandit replies. “The core job here is to look at the businesses –and make sure they’re positioned for the future. (I’ve got to) look at them one by one and together as a group and that’s what I’m going to do.”

Might you sell some of those businesses?

“I’m not going to comment because I don’t come at this with any bias," he replies. “I’ve got to work with my management team and go through this in a steady manner to see what we ought to have as the right businesses for the future.”

Will you undergo a strategic review?

“We are going through that process – but this is a unique opportunity for me personally,” Pandit answers. “Having been here for 6 months I know a lot, but not everything. For me it’s an opportunity to look at these business and build on the work that’s been done.. I can’t tell you how long that it will take, but when it’s done you will know.”

What are you focused on right now?

I (will) focus on productivity and our businesses for the future and our people," answers Pandit, "because if we get them right we not only deal with challenges of the environment, but we deal with the future.

He adds, "There is nothing anyone can say to reduce the challenging nature of this environment. There are issues related to the growth of the economy and how robust the consumer is going to be. But, those are issues that also affect all the companies around us.

Are you committed to the dividend?

“The dividend is where it is,” he replies. “It’s a board decision and it’s already made that clear.”

How about the $7.5 billion investment from Abu Dhabi?

"The fact is, the capital raising that we did is only one of the moves that we’re going to be making to be sure we’re well capitalized," says Pandit, "not only to support current business but all the other opportunities we see in the marketplace."

Do you have a bank you look to as a model?

"Citi," he replies. "It’s going to be a powerful and better Citi."

Do you think being of Indian decent helped you win the position?

"My belief had always been the next CEO had to be the best 'athlete' for the job," answers Pandit. "It wouldn’t matter where that person was born. And I’m lucky to have this opportunity to lead this institution."

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Trader disclosure: On Dec. 11, 2007, the following stocks and commodities mentioned or intended to be mentioned on CNBC’s Fast Money were owned by the Fast Money traders; Macke Owns (SWY), (INTC), (EMC), Najarian Owns (BIIB) Options, (CCL) Options, (CSCO) Options, (EMC) Options, (BIDU) Options, (GOOG) Options; Finerman's Firm And Finerman Own (GS); Finerman's Firm Owns (NMX), (NYX), (TXI); Finerman's Firm Owns (BIIB) Options, (MSFT) Options; Finerman's Firm Owns Russell 2000 Puts; Finerman's Firm Owns S&P 500 Puts; Finerman's Firm Is Short (IWM), (SPY), (IYR), (IJR), (MBI); Finerman's Firm Is Short (MDY) And Owns (MDY) Puts; Finerman's Firm Is Short (LEH) And Owns (LEH) Puts; GE Is The Parent Company Of CNBC

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