Peter Orszag Close to Joining Citigroup

Citigroup, in which the US government owns an 11 percent stake, is close to hiring Peter Orszag, the former budget director in Barack Obama’s administration, according to people familiar with the situation.

Citigroup Building
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Citigroup Building

Mr Orszag, a protege of Robert Rubin, a former U.S. Treasury Secretary and Citi director, is in advanced discussions to take a senior role at the bank’ securities unit.

Citi declined to comment and Mr Orszag, 41, could not be reached. People familiar with the situation said Mr Orszag, who left the White House team in July, was likely to be offered a position dealing with clients and top government officials rather than running a business.

After suffering huge losses during the financial crisis as its bets on mortgage-backed securities went sour, Citi is trying to refocus its securities business on lower-risk activities such as advising companies on deals and trading securities.

As the White House budget director, Mr Orszag played a key part in the administration’s reform of the healthcare system and its strategy to stimulate the US economy during the financial crisis.

After studying economics at Princeton University and the London School of Economics, Mr Orszag worked for the Clinton administration at a time when Mr Rubin was at Treasury.

Mr Orszag’s successor as budget director, Jacob Lew is a former Citi executive.

The U.S. government has been selling down its stake in Citi – acquired in exchange for some $45bn in bailout funds during the crisis – but it still owns around 11 percent in the financial giant.

Bloomberg earlier reported news of the advanced talks between Citi and Mr Orszag.