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Citigroup’s Reed to Retire; Weill Alone at the Top

REUTERS

Citigroup Inc. said John Reed, chairman and co-chief executive, will retire in April, leaving Wall Street deal maker Sanford “Sandy” Weill as the sole CEO of the nation’s largest financial services group.

The move ends the power-sharing agreement Reed struck with Weill in the $70-billion merger between Citicorp and Travelers Group in 1998. Reed, 61, had led the international bank while Weill, who turns 67 in March, was head of insurance and securities firm Travelers.

It also leaves a potential power vacuum at the top of Citigroup, which is the second-most profitable company in the world, after General Electric Co., with 1999 earnings of close to $10 billion.

Weill said he plans to name a successor within two years. Robert Rubin, the former U.S. Treasury secretary who was tapped to join Citigroup last year in a three-person chairman office, said he has no plans to be that person.

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“I have said I had no intention of being CEO, and I will not be CEO,” Rubin told reporters in a conference call following Reed’s announcement. “What I would like to do is remain very actively involved, as I have been . . . on strategic and managerial matters.”

Citigroup’s stock rose $1 to close at $49 on the New York Stock Exchange.

Reed’s planned retirement follows the announced departure of Citigroup’s chief financial officer, Heidi Miller, who is joining Priceline.com Inc. as CFO. As Citigroup’s top management ranks thin, Rubin and Victor Menezes, co-CEO of corporate and investment banking, could play greater roles at the company, analysts said.

Reed, who will formally retire at an April 18 shareholders meeting, said he had not been forced out by Citigroup’s board.

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“Sandy and I had talked about various configurations, we shared it with the board and it was clear that I was the person who wanted most to retire,” Reed told reporters. “There was no disagreement.”

Reed joined Citibank in 1965, when it was called First National City Bank, as a planner in the overseas division.


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