Net Net: Promoting innovation and managing change
Net Net: Promoting innovation and managing change

Former Citi chief backs breaking up big banks

Victor J. Blue | Bloomberg | Getty Images

John Reed, former chairman of Citicorp, was instrumental in creating one of the world's largest financial institutions. In recent years, he's struck a highly cautious tone on the state of global banking.

At a conference in Boston on Monday, Reed expressed concern that the size of Citigroup, the bank he merged with Travelers in 1999, is so immense and complex it's nearly impossible to manage.

"Even if you know exactly what you want to do, to make sure it happens throughout the organization is an amazingly difficult task," Reed told the audience at the OCC's Future of National Banking forum. "Having three or four CEOs in the last decade hasn't helped."