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Citi’s Corbat Takes the Buck

Talk about being where the buck stops. While Citigroup Chief Executive Michael Corbat’s first quarter on the job didn’t go as expected, with the bank reporting disappointing fourth quarter results on Thursday, the new CEO didn’t run from the spotlight.

Nor did he pass buck on to his predecessor, Vikram Pandit, who stepped down in October amid pressure from the board. “We're not satisfied with these bottom line-earnings,” Corbat said bluntly on a call with investors. Excluding one-time charges, Citi earned 69 cents a share in the fourth quarter. Analysts estimated per-share earnings of 96 cents.

Corbat took the opportunity to align his goals with those of Citi shareholders, and to reaffirm what he believes is the firm’s chief flaw: a lack of efficiency (read: a bloated workforce).

When asked what he hoped to achieve in his time as CEO, Corbat responded, to “run a smart and efficient business that’s good at its allocation of its resources. We’ve got to get to a point where we stop destroying our shareholders’ capital.”

Corbat announced 11,000 job cuts just weeks into his tenure. If Citi and its shareholders suffer through another quarter like this, he may need to sharpen his axe one more time.

Sales Folks Needed (eFinancialCareers)

New York-based Guardian Life plans to hire 875 new financial representatives in the U.S. in 2013, with a focus on attracting women, career changers and recent college graduates.

With Us Or Against Us (The Telegraph)

With the Libor rate-fixing scandal still ringing in his ears, Barclays Chief Executive Antony Jenkins issued an ultimatum to employees on Thursday:  Adopt better values or get out.

More With Less (WSJ)

Bank of America’s Global Wealth and Investment Management, made up mostly of Merrill Lynch employees, saw its average yearly productivity per adviser and client balances increase in the fourth quarter of 2012, despite the fact that it saw a drop in headcount.

Conflict of Interest (WSJ)

Investment bank Thomas Weisel Partners at one point managed money for cyclist Lance Armstrong’s former team as well as that of the sport’s then-governing body. With Armstrong’s reported admittance of doping, the 71-year-old Weisel finds himself in a precarious position.

BBVA Cuts (Bloomberg)

Banco Bilbao Vizcaya Argentaria , or BBVA, has cut 24 investment banking jobs from its New York office. The Spanish bank has also asked 40 other employees to transfer to the firm’s Houston location.

Quietly Healing (AP)

Initial jobless claims fell to a five-year low last week. Hiring is being described as slow, but steady.

All Settled (Financial News)

J.P. Morgan has reached an out-of-court settlement with Javier Martin-Artajo, the former supervisor of Bruno Iksil, the trader known as the “London Whale” whose positions cost the bank $6.2 billion. The bank sued Artajo in October.

Buzz Around the Office

The Scenic Route (Gizmodo)

A 67-year-old Belgian woman on the way to pick up her friend at a train station drove 900 miles over two days after not noticing an error on her GPS dashboard. The station was only 93 miles from her home. She figured it out in Croatia.

List of the Day: Common Interview Questions

No matter where you are interviewing, be prepared with strong answers to these three questions.

  1. Why do you want to leave your current company?
  2. What are your salary requirements?
  3. What questions do you have for me?

(Source: Glassdoor)

AUTHORBeecher Tuttle US Editor

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