- The Washington Times - Thursday, March 12, 2009

NEW YORK (AP) - Citigroup Inc. will likely nominate two former bank chief executives and two other financial experts to be directors as part of a shuffling of the embattled bank’s board, according to a media report.

Citing people familiar with the matter, the Wall Street Journal said late Thursday possible nominees include former U.S. Bancorp CEO Jerry Grundhofer; ex-Bank of Hawaii CEO Michael O’Neill and William S. Thompson, former co-chief of bond investment manager Pimco.

The paper said Citigroup is expected to announce the board changes next week when it files its proxy statement with the Securities and Exchange Commission. Any nominees would have to be formally approved by the board and voted on by shareholders.

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A Citigroup spokesperson could not immediately be reached for comment.

Citigroup’s board has been the target of much criticism among investors for allowing the bank to invest so heavily in the risky housing market. Massive losses forced the bank to eventually reach a deal with the Treasury Department giving the government up to a 36 percent stake in the struggling New York-based bank. Citigroup had already received $45 billion in U.S. bailout money, plus federal guarantees to cover losses on some $300 billion in risky investments.

Richard Parsons, who took over as chairman last month, is one of the few Citigroup directors with experience in both banking and leading a large company. Before joining Time Warner in 1995, Parsons was chairman and chief executive of Dime Bancorp Inc., one of the largest U.S. thrift institutions. Parsons also was an economic adviser on President Barack Obama’s transition team.

Earlier this year Parsons said he planned to look for people with proven business judgment and experience in the financial sector to replace retiring directors overseeing the company.

Three directors have already announced they will depart from the New York-based bank’s board. Roberto Hernandez Ramirez, the chairman of its Mexican banking operations, has said he won’t stay on beyond his current term. Robert Rubin, a former Treasury Secretary who was a longtime Citigroup board member, and Win Bischoff, most recently chairman at Citigroup, both have announced their retirement from the bank.

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