Chuck Prince at Citigroup Inc. (NYSE: C) has been under increasing pressure to 'do something' to increase shareholder value after years of no price appreciation in the value of the company despite many attempts including the buying and selling of many companies, reorganizations, expansions, contractions and numerous meetings with major shareholders to express his ideas and get theirs - and still nothing. Some have suggested breaking up the company which is currently the largest financial institution / bank in the United States, but that does not seem to be in the cards. Now to be fair other ultra-large cap stocks (Citi is $254 billion) have made little progress in growing share value over the last few years and some have gone down; General Electric (NYSE: GE), Johnson & Johnson (NYSE: JNJ), Wal-Mart Stores (NYSE: WMT) and 3M Co. (NYSE: MMM) to name a few.
- Melly Alazraki reported on Wednesday that Investors awaited Citigroup Inc.'s restructuring announcement today. The originally expected 15,000 jobs, was yesterday reported to have increased to 26,000. Well, the Citi released its plan and it contains 17,000 job cuts, or 5% of its workforce as the company seeks to lower annual expenses by $4.6 billion in the next three years. However, the 26,000 jobs reported yesterday said "fired or reassigned," and indeed Citi announced that "more than 9,500 jobs will be moved to lower-cost locations."
Every big company has some "dead weight." However, where did they discover these people they say they no longer need, hiding under desks? Sleeping in the closets? Not the executive washroom prey tell?! How did all these "dead beats" hide for so long? What will the costs to the company be in the short run? Most importantly, firing lots of people is not necessarily any more of a strategy than proposing a troop surge in Iraq. They both can have an impact but I'm not sure it equates with being a strategy. The strategy should be to sell or spinoff any enterprise that is under performing immediately and expand those that are performing well, even if it means you do not remain the largest bank. No magic there -- it's the Jack Welch formula, it works, try it!
Furthermore, here is the leadership question; has Citigroup been operating inefficiently for years with too many unnecessary people and just now come to that realization? - not good, or have they decided that they will struggle along with less people and offer less in services internally and to their customers? - also not good! So I think I have to pay homage to my dad again, who often reminds me that "the fish stinks from the head" -- It's time to go Chuck!