Citigroup CFO John Gerspach must go: Mike Mayo

Citigroup CFO needs to go: Analyst
Citigroup CFO needs to go: Analyst

Citigroup CFO John Gerspach needs to go after "three strikes," CLSA bank analyst Mike Mayo told CNBC on Thursday, a day after Citi flunked the Fed's "stress test."

"So, the question for Citigroup is: Who is going to be held accountable at Citigroup? And I'm not talking about someone way far down the totem pole. I'm talking about who with the public face to investors, to shareholders, is going to be held accountable for this mishap at Citigroup," he said.

On Wednesday, the Federal Reserve rejected Citigroup's capital plan and barred it from increasing both its dividend and stock repurchases.

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'Why so many hate Wall St.': Mike Mayo
'Why so many hate Wall St.': Mike Mayo

On CNBC's "Halftime Report," Mayo took direct aim at Gerspach's track record.

"Well, it's baseball season, and three strikes, you're out. So, I think it's John Gerspach, the CFO, needs to go. Citigroup needs to change the CFO, bottom line," he said.

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"John Gerspach, the CFO, was the chief accounting officer going into the financial crisis, when Citigroup had financial mishaps. Two years ago, Citi was turned down for its capital plan by the Fed. That's strike two. And then yesterday, being turned down again is strike three."

Citigroup did not immediately respond to CNBC's request for comment.

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Analyst likes Morgan Stanley best

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Mayo also called on Chairman Michael O'Neill to reach out beyond the company.

"Mike O'Neill, chairman of Citigroup, go ahead and call the large investors today," Mayo said.

"Why isn't Citigroup having a conference call today? Where's Citi's conference call? If this was Jamie Dimon—for anything I might've said about JPMorgan and Jamie Dimon—at least Jamie Dimon would have a conference if he had a mishap like this," Mayo added.

Mike Mayo selling Bank of America
Mike Mayo selling Bank of America

Despite his criticism, Mayo said he was still positive on the stock, on which he holds a $58 price target and a "buy" rating.

"We all know it's cheap, but they have some nice businesses," he said. "They generate a 2 percent return on assets in their global consumer basis and in their transaction-processing business. The investment bank has great potential to be streamlined, and the legacy assets from the financial crisis are running off, and as that runs off, they will have a nice benefit to earnings over time. So, the potential is there, and the sum of the parts is worth at least more than 50 percent over where the stock is trading now. It just needs someone to release that trapped value from Citigroup."

Mayo does not hold a position in Citigroup or JPMorgan.

Another expert who expected financial stocks, especially Citigroup, to do well was Bill Miller, former chairman and CEO of Legg Mason Capital Management.

"They're cheap historically," he said on CNBC's "Closing Bell," noting that dividend growth from bank stocks would be among the best in the market over the next few years.

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Bill Miller: Housing a great investment

Citigroup, he added, was a value today.

"Citibank's value didn't change today from yesterday 5 or 6 percent. And more importantly, Citi's going to have a $58 tangible book by the end of this year," he said. "They'll probably earn $7 in two years. They'll trade, in my opinion, at probably 10 or 11 times."

Miller, who holds positions in Bank of America, Citigroup and JPMorgan, said that he expected Citi shares to hit $70 in 24 months.

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"I think it's going to beat the market," he added.

By CNBC's Bruno J. Navarro. Follow him on Twitter @Bruno_J_Navarro.