Citibank Hits Bottom Again!

When a former Finnish banker gets to join a big American bank’s board we get the impression from the Finnish media that we should be jumping for joy here in Finland.

This was how this was reported in one of today’s business newspapers about the appointment of a former CEO Mr. von Koskull of Nordea Bank, a local Nordic bank, to this elevated position. The headline read, “The former CEO of Nordea Bank, Mr. Casper von Koskull  was appointed to the demanding position as a Board Member of Citigroup Inc, the financial giant.”

However great this sounds, a more careful analysis would reveal that such a position is probably not what most successful bankers would grab for the simple reason that Citigroup Inc. is no shining star of banking. In fact it looks more like a Black Hole where where nothing good happens.

Readers of this newspaper will recall that Citigroup, along with many other banks, has seen black storm-clouded years without any silver clouds on the horizon. Their share price has been lingering in the dirt for 15 years. 

It is obvious that one should consider that they are scraping the bottom of the barrel to appoint a young man from a very domestic Nordic bank to change their fortunes…

Nordea Bank is one of three banks here in Helsinki that have a virtual strangle-hold on this small Finnish market. I doubt whether this man has much to offer this sad “white elephant*”. They happen to be one of the biggest fossil fuel financiers in the world with plenty of potential stranded assets to fatten their losses! 

*A white elephant is a possession that its owner cannot dispose of, and whose cost, particularly that of maintenance, is out of proportion to its usefulness.

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