A lawyer as CFO? Bad idea, says Bove
Did Citigroup do the right thing in installing a new CFO? Depends on who you ask.
Citi named Gary Crittenden to run a unit housing underperforming and toxic assets the bank wants to get rid of, and tapped Edward Kelly to replace him as chief financial officer. Kelly, known as Ned, was head of global banking, including Citi Private Bank, and joined in February 2008 from private equity firm Carlyle Group.
Veteran banking analyst Richard Bove called the move a “big error.”
“This is a terrible mistake. It is the first that Vikran Pandit, CEO, has made in my judgment, but it is a big error,” Bove, an analyst at Rochdale Research wrote in a note to clients.
Bove’s argument: Crittenden, who was formerly CFO of American Express, was qualified for the job, while Kelly, a lawyer, “has a superb reputation but there is nothing in his background that suggests that he is qualified for this job.”
Not everyone agreed with Bove’s assessment.
Michael Holland, a money manager at Holland & Co, said the appointments are “the first good news we’ve had in a long time from Citigroup.”
“Crittenden has earned the confidence of the financial community, and Kelly is considered a very solid, competent citizen. It is a welcome relief,” Holland said.
(Photo: REUTERS/John Gress)