Sometimes, ya gotta do stuff that you simply don’t agree with.
Or that you despise the people that were behind a particular event or initiative.
Or that you were personally & deeply hurt by certain actions of others…financially, ethically, morally, emotionally…and then you’re instructed to make speeches to about 2,500 or more employees (in separate groups of 25-100 people each), smiling & speaking positively about this thing.
Such was the dilemma I was faced with soon after the Citi-Travelers merger and the announcement afterwards that they were doing away with the Citibank pension plan going forward.
Word came down from “head office” (our corporate HQ @ 399 Park Ave) that the Citibank pension plan was being being discontinued for ALL employees, except those that were 1) 45 years of age or older AND 2) had at least five years of service with the company.
Everybody else who was either younger than 45 OR had less than five years of experience would be converted to a 401(k) plan going forward. Their interest in Citi’s pension plan would be frozen in time, neither accumulating more years of service (which translates to a higher % of your salary in calculating your pension amount) nor taking into consideration any salary increases from that point in time until you retired.
I happened to be with Citi for more than 20 years at the time of this announcement…no big deal, right?
I would only be 43 1/2 by the end of the year…and, therefore, ineligible to be grandfathered into the pension plan!!!
My buddy, Fred Doe, would be 44 23/24 years old when the new plan went into place. Ineligible!
What was particularly cruel & unfair about Travele, er, Citi’s plan is that an employee had to meet BOTH requirements…age AND years of service.
Other corporations who froze their pension plans had “magic numbers” for employees to meet, a combination of age PLUS years of experience, in order to be grandfathered!
IBM initially established 65 as their magic number, then when their employees filed a class action suit, they lowered the number to 55.
For me, 43 years old with 20 years experience = 63! Bing, bing, bing!!! Eligible for pension.
But not with Citi! I wasn’t old enough!
(Why wasn’t I smart enough or quick enough to file a class action suit myself & bring these scum buckets to their knees? Why???)
And then, to top off everything, I’m asked (instructed?) by USCC senior management & HR to give these little talks to the USCC employees.
All the employees.
I would “preach” to ~35 groups of employees (anywhere from 25 to 100 people at a time) in the San Antonio room in Bldg 2. I had to extol the virtues of this new plan and how the 401(k) plan was “portable ” so if you ever left Citibank, you could always “take your 401(k) with you”.
Oh, what a great selling point to CURRENT Citi employees…”When you leave, you can take your 401K with you!”! Each of the 35 or so times I said that, I wanted to puke right there & then. Hard-working, loyal, veteran, valuable employees would get tossed by the wayside. Thousands of us employees in our early 40s were getting screwed, but there I was, giving speech after speech after speech, telling all the little lambs not to worry about the big, bad wolf’s plan…after all, it was portable!!!
I despise Sandy Weill & everything that he stood for. I dreaded that Sunday evening in February 1997 when he called our Chairman & CEO, John Reed, and proposed the Citi-Travelers merger.
And I’ll always despise that scheming bastard, a person worse than Satan himself!
“Come & sue me, you POS! You can wait in line with everyone else I’ve told off in this blog! I ain’t got a freakin’ penny to my name, but please, sue me for the clothes off my back!”
You raped the Citi pension fund for $600MM-$700MM as one of your very first acts as co-Chairman. Then you screwed tens & tens of thousands of veteran Citibankers who gave their lives, their blood & their souls to this corporation.
Not sure if people understand how a pension plan actually works.
Basically, depending on your years of service and your average salary over your last five years of working, you’re guaranteed a certain percentage of that average salary over the rest of your life.
It’s not subject to the whims of the stock market, it’s insured & you’re not responsible for managing it.
Conservatively speaking, it’s estimated that I’ve lost $500K-$750K over my lifetime. That doesn’t even take into consideration the baths I took when the market crashed or when Citigroup’s stock fell from 53 1/2 to ~4. Ignore today’s C price as they did a reverse 1-10 split a few years back to artificially pump up the price. For every 10 shares you owned at $4.25 per, you got 1 share @ $42.50.
Your total investment wasn’t worth a penny more…even though the share price was MULTIPLIED by 10!
That’s because your # of shares was DIVIDED by 10 at the same time!
I will never, to the day I die, forgive that bastard for what he did, for the way he treated us, for the way he fooled John Reed into merging with his piece of shit Travelers organization.
How ironic is it that are NO vestiges of Travelers around Citi any longer. Travelers Insurance was spun off & is on its own. Smith Barney is gone. All the crappy consumer finance businesses (like Primerica, the snake oil salesmen of the financial services industry & Associates, later CitiFinancial, then OneMain Financial) have been sold off in the past decade.
Sandy is the scum that brought you Joe Pl*meri, the idiot with the Napoleonic complex who swore he was Jesus Christ Himself!
The ONLY good thing Sandy did was bring Jamie Dimon to Citi. He was the heir apparent to Reed & Weill (then, to only Weill when Sandy pulled a dirty trick on John).
Lemme tell you about that one before I go any further. When John and Sandy were co-Chairmen and co-CEOs, they really didn’t get along together and no corporation can survive with two chiefs.
When you have two chiefs, you really have none.
They agreed to each present a re-organizational plan to the Board of Directors and have them vote on them.
John Reed went first & the professional that he was (but, perhaps, a little too naive & innocent compared to the snake himself), he presented his plan to the Board of Directors.
Then it was Sandy’s turn.
But instead of presenting any type of re-organizational plan, he gave them an ultimatum…you either choose John or me as the sole Chairman & CEO.
If you choose John, I’m leaving the company & taking as many key people as possible with me.
If you choose me, I’ll lead this company to heights never seen before.
If they didn’t immediately vote right then & there, he would resign.
Their hands were tied. They chose Sandy & John left.
Now back to Jamie Dimon…
He was brilliant! But he was combative. He was forced to resign after he grabbed another senior executive by the collar at an offsite conference in Armonk, NY.
BTW, if the name sounds familiar, he just happens to be Chairman & CEO of JPMorgan Chase. Perhaps you’ve heard of him? Today, he’s probably the most respected & powerful leader in the entire financial services industry…and amongst the best CEOs in the country.
Everything I tell you here is fact. It’s been written about & verified by others. My intense hatred of, and despise for, Sandy & his marauding band of Travelers idiots aside, this is not a piece based on hearsay or rumor.
I apologize if I offended anyone with my choice of words or by obviously-crude & emotional caricatures I’ve drawn on those who ruined what was once regarded as the greatest financial services company in the world & possibly, in history.
Those animals helped bring us to our knees & though I’ve been gone for more than a dozen years now, I always have bled, and will always continue to bleed, CITIBANK BLUE!
Screw the red crap & screw that dumb-ass umbrella!
It’s still a great company, though it’s lost its luster, the admiration of the world (and the stock market) and its heart.
And its soul.
If you’re a current employee, pls tell me to go screw myself. That Citi will once again rise like the mighty Phoenix.
Make it happen.
And I’ll be the happiest person on Earth as I eat my words.
I love you. I love my Citi. And God bless all of you!
As always, thank you so much for listening!