Silvio Berlusconi for Citigroup CEO!

In the wake of Saturday’s NYT story that Vikram

Pandit looks set to take over Citigroup, a bit of color is emerging: essentially

that he’s the best man for the job only insofar as he’s the only person willing

to take it. Bloomberg’s reporting that Deutsche Bank’s Josef Ackerman turned

down the opportunity, while the FT has a

long list of other candidates who have ruled themselves out, including Dick

Kovacevich of Wells Fargo, Fred Goodwin of RBS, Jay Fishman of Travelers, and

even Hank Paulson. They didn’t bother mentioning Jamie Dimon of JP Morgan.

And who does buy-side giant Bill

Miller think should pilot this supertanker?

"I would like someone to run Citi like the way that [Mark] Hurd saw

HP – someone to come in and simplify the processes. That’s key. Someone who

would approach Citi that way would be great," he said. "Citi doesn’t

need a major strategic overhaul."

It’s a nice dream, but nice dreams tend not to make for successful stock picks.

Citigroup simply isn’t amenable to simplification. It was a mess under Prince,

and it will be a mess under his successor. Maybe what’s really needed is someone

who’s proved himself capable of running something sprawling and messy. How about

Silvio Berlusconi?

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