The financial crisis accelerated some of those departures, as executives fled to companies that appeared farther from the brink of failure or better able to pay for their skills. But Rossi sees Corbat's takeover as a step in the right direction for Citigroup's future executive retention.
"There's certainly been a brain drain of sorts in various positions," he says. But "tapping Corbat as the successor to Pandit may actually put them back on track to cultivating that kind of leadership, because he grew up Citigroup and has that built into him — how effective a process that is. Tapping an insider will certainly help stabilize things going forward."