Thursday, March 11, 2010

Reasons to Like Citigroup Again $C

By Eric Jackson

RealMoney Contributor

3/11/2010 8:00 AM EST

Over the past year, I've been very critical of Citigroup (C - commentary - Trade Now) CEO Vikram Pandit and of the company's improved but still-deficient board of directors. Perhaps there's no greater example of a once-great company laid low by the financial tsunami of 2008 than Citi.

Yet, the company, which has been plagued by persistent bad press for the better part of two years now, seems to have turned the corner, with investors taking particular notice in the last week. Yesterday, the stock touched $4 for the first time in three months.

It's time to give Citi its due, and it's time to get long the stock. Here's why.

Vikram Pandit has been abysmal CEO, but he is actually learning from the massive criticism he's received. Pandit has done himself no favors since taking the top spot from Chuck Prince. He told a reporter after his ascension that he called his father in India to tell him of the good news by saying, "The Prince has gone and the King has come." Last week's performance of Pandit in front of the TARP oversight committee and with media afterwards was beyond reproach. He struck just the right tone of modesty and wanting to do what's right for Citi shareholders and the country. If he can be coached here by his PR team, it gives me hope that he can also be coached in improving some of the other parts of Citi that need work.


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