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Citigroup Seen Shaking Up Its Board Along With Bank

Wednesday, 14 Jan 2009 | 4:30 PM ET

Citigroup may soon restructure its board as well as its operations, sources have told CNBC.

CEO Vikram Pandit plans to announce further steps on Friday to shed assets as the bank moves away from the financial supermarket model it followed for the past decade, sources said. The announcement will be made to analysts after Citigroup reports fourth-quarter results that morning, nearly a week ahead of time.

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AP
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In addition, Citigroup is discussing a shakeup of its board where several current members are replaced, sources said.

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There has been widespread speculation that Chairman Win Bischoff may not hold that post much longer. But sources said other board members are vulnerable as well.

The expected moves come as Citigroup contends with mounting losses and a plunging stock price.

Citigroup's stock fell below the critical $5 level on Wednesday as investors and analysts worried whether the bank can be profitable and function effectively as it unravels its business model.

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Citigroup agreed Tuesday to shed its Smith Barney brokerage unit, its crown jewel, giving the bank $2.7 billion in badly needed cash. But Pandit is expected to discuss other assets that will be sold off on Friday. The bank also is expected to post its fifth straight quarterly loss.

Video: Watch report on possible board shakeup at Citigroup.

JPMorgan Chase reports earnings on Thursday, also nearly a week ahead of schedule.

Many people on Wall Street believe Citigroup could be headed for a larger-scale dismantling if the federal government—which now has a stake in Citi thanks to its recent bailout—has its way.

"I think within 12 months, Citigroup no longer exists," said William Smith at Smith Asset Management, who owns Citigroup shares. He has been calling for a breakup of Citigroup for years, and believes the government will force that fate in piecemeal fashion over the coming year.

Citigroup is planning to adopt the equivalent of a "good bank, bad bank'' structure, in which it would slim down to a business model recalling the former Citicorp, a person familiar with the plan said.

The plan envisions focusing on corporate, investment and retail banking and keeping a slimmer trading business, while moving unwanted assets and businesses such as complex debt to a separate structure, the person said on condition of anonymity.

Citigroup's "bad bank'' would have about $600 billion of assets, close to one-third of Citigroup's balance sheet, which could eventually be sold or spun off, the person said.

Assets that could be sold include its Primerica unit, which sells life insurance, mutual funds and other financial products.

Segregating bad assets has a history of success, said Mike Holland, a money manager at Holland in New York. "It worked in the savings and loan crisis (in the 1980s). I'm getting a sense of deja vu, in a good way.''

—AP and Reuters contributed to this report.

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