STEVE INSKEEP, host:

More cash can give a boost to banks like Citigroup, which has suffered some of the worst casualties of the subprime mortgage crisis. The chief executive resigned last month and now there's a new face at the top. Citigroup named a Wall Street insider, Vikram Pandit, as its new leader.

NPR's Frank Langfitt reports.

FRANK LANGFITT: Pandit inherits a prestigious job in a company that's reeling. Consider, this year Citigroup could write down the value of its assets by some $17 billion. Its stock price is down about 40 percent. In a conference call, Pandit said he plans to take an exhaustive look at the firm's entire operation.

Mr. VIKRAM PANDIT (Citigroup): I will undertake an objective and dispassionate review of all the businesses we have to make sure we're properly positioned for the future.

LANGFITT: Pandit's new job caps an extraordinary rise on Wall Street. He came in the United States from central India at age 16 to attend Columbia University. After a career at Morgan Stanley, he started a hedge fund called Old Lane Partners.

Citigroup bought the fund earlier this year for about $800 million. Pandit went on to run Citigroup's investment banking division. But Pandit has never run a big company or a consumer banking business, which includes things like credit cards. And usually chief executives also serve as chairman of the board. But Citigroup hired acting CEO Sir Win Bischoff for that job.

Bischoff is about a decade and a half older than Pandit. That prompted one reporter to ask whether Pandit was really ready to run the company.

Former Treasury Secretary Robert Rubin, who had been serving as Citigroup's temporary chairman, answered like this.

Mr. ROBERT RUBIN (Former Treasury Secretary): I think Vikram is 50 or thereabouts. President Clinton was president of the United States at 45 or thereabouts.

LANGFITT: Pandit replaces Charles Prince, who resigned five weeks ago amid Citigroup's deepening losses.

Frank Langfitt, NPR News.

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