Major shareholder tells Citigroup boss to deliver

SAUDI Prince Alwaleed bin Talal, a major shareholder in Citigroup, has stepped up the pressure on the US bank’s chief executive, Vikram Pandit, saying that it is time for him “to deliver”.

The billionaire royal, a nephew of Saudi King Abdullah, reiterated his support for Pandit when he met him at Citigroup’s headquarters in New York on Friday.

But Alwaleed, who was listed as the world’s 22nd richest individual by Forbes last year, said that Pandit must deliver in 2010, which he described as being a make-or-break year for the Citigroup boss. Alwaleed’s Citigroup stake is worth some $4.3bn (£2.65bn).

The Saudi investor grew impatient with Pandit’s predecessor, Chuck Prince, in 2006, complaining that the bank’s costs were rising faster than its revenues. Prince stepped down as chief executive in 2007 as the bank’s writedowns mounted.

Citigroup will publish fourth-quarter results tomorrow.

Alwaleed has said that Citigroup is over the worst and expects the bank to post a profit in 2010.
He has also indicated that he is looking to expand his alliances with Rupert Murdoch’s News Corp.