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Blackstone’s Wien: Vikram Pandit ‘Very Competent’

Tuesday, 16 Oct 2012 | 1:09 PM ET

Recently ousted Citigroup CEO Vikram Pandit is "a very competent person, " Blackstone Vice Chairman Byron Wien said Tuesday on CNBC.

On "Fast Money , " Wien had words of praise for his former colleague.

(Read More: Why I'm Buying Citi After Pandit's Exit: Weiss )

Wien: Pandit 'Competent Person'
Byron Wien, Blackstone Advisory Partners, says Vikram took Citigroup from the brink and brought it back. "He's a very competent person; I don't know what happened here," he said.

"I've only good things to say about Vikram. He took that bank from the brink and brought it back. I've worked with him closely, " he said. "He's a very competent person. I don't know what happened here."

(Read More: Meet Michael Corbat, Citigroup's New Boss )

Pandit and his No. 2 executive, John Havens exited the bank Tuesday. Michael Corbat, who served as CEO of the bank's Europe, Middle East and Africa operation, was named CEO.

In an interview that touched on earnings, real estate and the so-called "fiscal cliff, " which would trigger automatic federal spending cuts in January, Wien said the shake-up at Citigroup caught him off-guard.

(Read More: Citi CEO Shake-Up 'Not That Big an Event': Kelly )

"It's a big surprise for me, " he said. "As you know, I worked with both Vikram and John Havens for 20 years at Morgan Stanley . This seems like a very abrupt change. Usually a major institution like that announces a change, and it takes place over a period of time. To have it take place instantaneously is quite a shock to the investment community and to me personally."

WATCH the entire interview with Blackstone Vice Chairman Byron Wien.

Trader disclosure: On Oct. 16, 2012, the following stocks and commodities mentioned or intended to be mentioned on CNBC's "Fast Money" were owned by the "Fast Money" traders: Brian Kelly is long QQQ; Brian Kelly is long SMH; Brian Kelly is long GLD; Brian Kelly is long SLV; Brian Kelly is long FXP; Brian Kelly is long FXC; Brian Kelly is long JJC; Guy Adami is long C; Guy Adami is long GS; Guy Adami is long INTC; Guy Adami is long AGU; Guy Adami is long MSFT; Guy Adami is long NUE; Guy Adami is long BTU; Michael Murphy is long AAPL; Michael Murphy is long WFC; Michael Murphy is long TGT; Michael Murphy is long UNH; Stephen Weiss is long C; Stephen Weiss is long AIG; Stephen Weiss is long BAC; Stephen Weiss is long HK; Stephen Weiss is long QCOM; Stephen Weiss is short RIO; Stephen Weiss is short AKS.

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