He was brought in, in part, to get Citgroup out from under the regulators’ microscope. He was brought in, perhaps, to be a little boring. Today, former Shelton High football star Michael L. Corbat — whom we profiled this past summer — got some rather unconventional praise in a New York Times piece that ran on the paper’s first business page.
In a testament to his unassuming presence, Corbat doesn’t even get to be the banker who leaps off the page — that would be, unsurprisingly, JPMorgan Chase CEO Jamie Dimon.
The Times story suggests that bank lawyers and JPMorgan directors are hoping the big-talking Dimon will adopt some of Corbat’s quieter leadership tactics — and that Dimon is already trying to do so in the face of mounting government scrutiny and scandals.
“To be a prominent face of Wall Street at a time when banks are feeling the heat from federal authorities on a number of fronts clearly has its drawbacks,” the story says.
Since Corbat took over as CEO in October 2012, Citigroup’s stock is up more than 40 percent.
The piece buttresses its point with an anecdote of Corbat strolling through an elite midtown Manhattan eatery and going largely unnoticed by the city’s movers and shakers. It notes, too, that Citigroup’s PR arm purposefully decided Corbat shouldn’t speak at the annual World Economic Forum in Davos, Switzerland, to keep his profile low.
Fittingly, the majority of the article focuses on Dimon, with several paragraphs devoted to Goldman Sachs CEO Lloyd Blankfein.
Corbat, of course, had declined to comment for the story.