Michael Grynbaum, it turns out, was prescient back in November, when Citigroup replaced its long-time chief risk officer David Bushnell with safe-pair-of-hands Jorge Bermudez. The move seemed unconvincing, mainly because Bermudez is a commercial banker, not an investment banker:
Mr. Bermudez intends to move to New York, but his lack of familiarity with Wall Street has fueled speculation that he will be an interim head rather than a permanent replacement.
Interim is right. Bermudez is gone already, "retiring at age 56", to be replaced by a long-time Vikram Pandit lieutenant, Brian Leach. In this case, the undertones of favoritism are nothing to worry about: the more that the CRO has the CEO’s ear, and the CEO has the CRO’s back, the better. Bermudez was always a bit of a weird choice for CRO: he was a career Citibank manager and executive much more than he was a finance wonk. Citi will be hoping that with Leach in charge, it won’t suffer 15 days where it loses more than $100 million, as it did in 2007.