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First on CNBC Interview: Erin Burnett Speaks to New Citigroup CEO Vikram Pandit on "Fast Money" (Transcript Included)

WHEN: Tuesday, December 11th at 5:00PM ET
WHERE: "Fast Money"

The following is the unofficial transcript of a First on CNBC interview with the new Citigroup CEO Vikram Pandit on CNBC's "Fast Money" today. All references must be sourced to CNBC.

In a FIRST ON CNBC interivew, CNBC's Erin Burnett speaks with the new Citigroup CEO Vikram Pandit about a broad range of topics including his new position as head of Citigroup, whether there will be job cuts or more writedowns at the company, the Fed and the Middle East investment in Citigroup, among other topics.

ERIN: WE ARE HERE FIRST IN THE TELEVISION INTERVIEW WITH THE NEW CEO OF CITIGROUP. THANK YOU MR. PANDIT WE APPRECIATE YOUR BEING WITH US. CONGRATULATIONS ON THE NEW JOB. I HAVE TO ASK YOU THE FIRST QUESTION, AND THIS IS A JOB THATWE HAVE ASKED MANY PEOPLE OVER THE PAST FEW WEEKS WHETHER THEY WOULD WANT WE HAVE GOTTEN ANSWERS RANGING FROM POLITE NO TO I WOULDN'T TOUCH WIT A 1,000-FOOT POLE AND WHY DO YOU WANT IT?

PANDIT: WELL, ERIN, IT IS ONE OF THE WORLD'S GREATEST FINANCIAL INSTITUTIONS AND THE BRAND AND THE PRESENCE AROUND THE WORLD AND IT HAS ENORMOUS CAPABILITIES AND WHEN YOU LOOK AT THE FUTURE OF THE FINANCIAL SERVICES AND TAKE IT OFF TO THE DISORGANIZATION THAT THE ORGANIZATION HAS, THE OPPORTUNITIES ARE TREMENDOUS AND THE FUTURE AHEAD OF US IS PUTTING ONE OF THE TWO TOGETHER AND MAKING SOMETHING GOOD HAPPEN OUT OF IT. I AM EXCITED TO BE A PART OF IT.

ERIN: YOU SAID YOU HAVE BEEN HERE SIX MONTHS, RIGHT?

PANDIT: YES.

ERIN: IT IS AN INCREDIBLE RISE. DID YOU EVER EVER DREAM OF THIS JOB?

PANDIT: NOT WHEN I STARTED.I DID NOT DREAM OF THIS JOB. BUT I AM DELIGHTED TO BE HERE.I AM LOOKING FORWARD TO THIS.I THINK IT IS CHALLENGING. I THINK IT COULD BE A LOT OF FUN AS WELL.

ERIN: A LOT OF FUN AND A LOT OF SPECULATION ABOUT WHAT MIGHT HAPPEN HERE AT CITIGROUP. RECENT PRESS STORIES HAVE LINKEDCITIGROUP IN WHAT WE WILL CALL THEM HUGE MERGERS WITH THE LIKES OF J.P. MORGAN AND RUN BY A FORMER CITIGROUP MANAGER JAMIE DIAMOND AND BANK OF AMERICA, AND IS EVERYTHING ON THE TABLE?

PANDIT: LOOK, YOU CALLED THEM SPECULATION AND YOU KNOW I WON'TSPECULATE ON ANYTHING.BUT WHAT I DO KNOW IS THAT THE CORE JOB HERE IS TO LOOK AT THE BUSINESSES AND LOOK AT THEM TO MAKE SURE THEY ARE POSITIONED FOR THE FUTURE AND YOU HAVE TO LOOK AT THEM ONE BY ONE AND TOGETHER AS A GROUP. THAT IS WHAT I AM GOING TO DO.

ERIN: SO SOME THINGS COULD BE SOLD?

PANDIT: I WON'T PUT ANYTHING ON THE TABLE OR OFF OF THE TABLE AND I WON'T MAKE ANY OF THOSE DECISIONS FRANKLY, BECAUSE I DON'T COMMENT ON THIS WITH ANY BIAS.I HAVE TO WORK TOGETHER WITH THE MANAGEMENT TEAM AND MAKE SURE I GO THROUGH THIS IN A STEADY, PROFESSIONAL MANNER TO SEE WHAT WE HAVE AS THE RIGHT BUSINESSES OF THE FUTURE.

ERIN: NOW YOU SAID YOU HAVE BEEN ON THE JOB FOR A COUPLE OF HOURS OBVIOUSLY AND I KNOW YOU ARE TRYING TO KEEP NOTHING ON THE TABLE AND NOTHING OFF OF THE TABLE, BECAUSE YOU HAVE A LOT OFDECISIONS TO MAKE.

PANDIT: ONLY FOUR HOURS.

ERIN: EXACTLY.THAT IS A FAIR POINT, BUT IS THERE GOING TO BE A REVIEW YOU ARE UNDERGOING OR A STRATEGIC REVIEW WHERE YOU COME OUT WITH HERE ARE RESULTS AND HERE IS WHAT WE LIKE AND HERE IS WHAT WE DON'T LIKE AND HERE IS WHAT FITS AND DOESN'T FIT?

PANDIT: WE GO THROUGH THAT PROCESS AND THIS IS A UNIQUE OPPORTUNITY FOR ME PERSONALLY AND HAVING BEEN HERE SIX MONTHS I KNOW SOME OF WHAT IS GOING ON, BUT NOT EVERYTHING ABOUT WHAT WE ARE ALL ABOUT AND FOR ME, PERSONALLY, AN OPPORTUNITY TO LOOK AT EVERY ONE OF THE BUSINESSES TO BUILD ON THE WORK THAT HAS BEEN DONE AND THAT IS A PROCESS I CAN'T TELL YOU HOW LONG IT WILL TAKE.BUT I HOPE IT DOESN'T TAKE THAT LONG, AND WHEN I DO KNOW WHAT THE OUTCOME OF THAT IS GOING TO BE, YOU WILL KNOW.

ERIN: AND LET ME ASK YOU, BECAUSE IT IS INTERESTING ON THE CALLS TODAY AND I KNOW YOU TALKED ABOUT THE FUTURE BEING IN THE RIGHT BUSINESSES AND THE CULTUREAND THE PRODUCTIVITY ENHANCEMENTS AND THOSE WERE THE THREE THINGS YOU WOULD FOCUS ON, BUT IT SEEMS THAT THOSE ARE GREAT THINGS TO FOCUS ON OVER THE LONGER TERM, BUT RIGHT NOW, YOU ARE IN THE THICK OF THE STORM AND CEOS SAYING THAT THE FED NEEDS TO WAGE A WAR ON RECESSION AND 2/3 OF THE BUSINESS COMES FROM CONSUMERS, CREDIT CARDS, MORTGAGES CDOS SIVS AND I COULD GO ON AND ON AND YOU ARE IN THE THICK OF THE STORM, AND WHAT ABOUT THE NEXT SIX MONTHS?

PANDIT: WELL, LOOK, THERE IS NOTHING ANYBODY CAN SAY TO REDUCE THE CHALLENGING NATURE OF THIS ENVIRONMENT.IT IS A CHALLENGING ENVIRONMENT.BUT IT IS CHALLENGING ENVIRONMENT FOR ALMOST ANYBODY IN THE BUSINESS AS YOU KNOW.THERE ARE ISSUES THAT ARE RELATED WITH THE GROWTH OF THE ECONOMY AND HOW ROBUST THE CONSUMER WILL BE, BUT THOSE ARE ISSUES THAT AFFECT ALL OF THE COMPANIES AROUND US.I'D THINK THAT GOING BACK TO TINGS THAT I HAD TALKED ABOUT EARLIER WHETHER IT IS FOCUSING ON PRODUCTIVITY AND MAKING SURE THAT WE ARE POSITIONING THE BUSINESSES FOR THE FUTURE CORRECTLY AND MAKING SURE WE ARE FOCUSING IN ON THE PEOPLE, THOSE ARE THE RIGHT PRIORITIES TO FOCUS ON, BECAUSE IF WE GET THEM RIGHT, AND AS WE GET THEM RIGHT, WE NOT ONLY DEAL WITH THE DLALS OF THE ENVIRONMENT, BUT WITH POSITIONING OURSELVES FOR THE FUTURE.

ERIN: SO TO A FEW SPECIFICING HERE AND THIS IS A LOT OF INVESTORS WANTING TO KNOW ABOUT FIRST OF ALL -- THE DIVIDEND.I HAVE BEEN SAYING ON CNBC I DIDN"T SEE HOW CITI WOULD CUT IT YOU SAY ON OR OFF THE TABLE, PEOPLE WANT AN ANSWER ABOUT THE DIVIDEND? ARE YOU COMMITTED TO IT?

PANDIT: THE BOARD HAS SAID IT CLEARLYAS THEY COULD, THEY CAME OUT IN NOVEMBER AND TALKED ABOUT THE DIVIDEND AND THE DIVIDEND IS WHERE IT IS.

ERIN: THE DIVIDEND IS HERE TO STAY?

PANDIT: IT IS A BOARD DECISION, AND THE BOARD HAS MADE THAT DECISIONAND COMMUNICATED IT.

ERIN: ALL RIGHT.LET ME ASK YOU ABOUT INVESTMENTS.ABU DHABI COMING IN $7.5 BILLIONAND SEMINOLE MOMENT FOR THE MARKETS IN THE UNITED STATES AND IN THE FOURTH QUARTER YOU ANNOUNCED $ BILLION TO $11 BILLION POTENTIAL WRITE-DOWNS AND APPEARS TO BALANCE DOWN SO THE QUESTION IS, ARE YOU GOING BACK FOR MORE?

PANDIT: WELL, LOOK, THE FACT IS THAT THE CAPITAL RAISING WE DID IS ONLY ONE OF THE VARIETY DIFFERENT MOVES THAT WE HAVE MADE AND ARE GOING TO BE MAKING OVER THE COURSE OF THE NEXT FEW MONTHS TO MAKE SURE THAT WE ARE EXTREMELY WELL CAPITALIZED AND NOT ONLY TO SUPPORT THE CURRENT BUSINESS, BUT ALSO TO SUPPORT THE OPPORTUNITIES THAT WE SEE OUT THERE IN THE MARKETPLACE.AND THAT INCLUDES FOR EXAMPLE THE NIKO ACQUISITION AND WHEN WE CLOSE THAT WE'LL HAVE MORE EQUITY AS WELL, AND WHEN YOU PUT IT TOGETHER, THE CFO, GARY CRITTENDON HAS DONE A GREAT JOB.

ERIN: DO YOU HAVE A BANK YOU LOOK TO AS A MODEL, MORGAN STANLEY?

PANDIT: CITI.

ERIN: CITI, AND BIGGER AND BETTER CITI THAN IT IS RIGHT NOW?

PANDIT: IT IS GOING TO BE A POWERFUL BETTER CITI, AND THAT IS THE MODEL FOR US.

ERIN: AND ONE LAST QUESTION FOR YOU, AND MORE THAN HALF OF CITI'S REVENUES COME FROM OVERSEAS AND YOU WERE BORN IN INDIA, AND A LOT OF PEOPLE SAIDTHAT THE NEXT CEO HAD TO COME FROM INDIA OR CHINA TO MAKE THISDEAL, AND THAT SAID ABOUT THE GROWTH AND DO YOU THINK OF BEING OF INDIAN DESCENT HELPED YOU?

PANDIT: WELL -- MY BELIEF HAS ALWAYS BEEN THE NEXT CEO OF CITI HAS TO BE WHOEVER THE BOARD CONSIDERS THE BEST ATHLETE FOR THE JOB AND DOESN'T MATTER WHERE THE PERSON IS BORN AND I AM LUCKY TO HAVE THE OPPORTUNITY TO LEAD THIS INSTITUTION WHICH I THINK IS A GREAT INSTITUTION GOING FORWARD.CLEARLY A LOT OF THE BUSINESS INTERNATIONAL, AND I WOULDN'T BESURPRISED IF A LOT MORE OF THEM INTERNATIONAL AND I VALUE THE RELATIONSHIPS THAT I HAVE IN THAT PART OF THE WORLD AND THEY COME IN HANDY WHEN WE LOOK THE BUILDING THE BUSINESSES OUT EVENMORE IN THE FUTURE.

ERIN: ALL RIGHT.THANK YOU, VIKAM, AND WE APPRECIATE YOUR BEING HERE TODAY.THAT WAS THE FIRST INTERVIEW WITH THE NEW CEO OF , VIKAM PANDIT AND WE WILL BE HEARING FROM HIM A LOT MORE.




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