NEW YORK – Citigroup Inc., the nation’s largest bank, may pare its work force by nearly 17,000 jobs (about 5 percent) as it seeks to lower expenses by more than $1 billion per year, a person with knowledge of company plans told Bloomberg News.
CEO Charles Prince has been under pressure from shareholders, with Citigroup’s stock trailing competitors’ and its expenses last year rising twice as fast as revenue. Analysts surveyed by Bloomberg News predict that the bank next week will post first-quarter earnings of $1.09 per share, a gain of less than 1 percent.
In a note yesterday to employees, Prince wrote that “we will consolidate certain back-office, middle-office and corporate functions at the business, regional and headquarters levels,” Bloomberg reported. A three-month review by COO Robert Druskin “has not been undertaken on the basis of giving the entire organization an arbitrary number to cut,” Prince added. “I firmly believe that you can’t shrink your way to greatness.”
Citigroup spokesman Michael Hanretta said bank officials won’t comment on Druskin’s plans until after tomorrow’s announcement. CNBC yesterday estimated the company might cut as many as 45,000 positions, and The New York Times today said 26,000 might be laid off or reassigned.