Will he stay or will he go?

John S. Reed, Citigroup's co-chairman and chief executive officer, came closer Friday to answering that question than he has before. But his reply was anything but definitive.

"At some point it will be healthy for the company to do a handover because that will indicate that the merger has come together effectively," Mr. Reed said during an interview on CNBC, a cable news channel. "We don't believe that a co-CEO is the forever way of operating."

The 59-year-old former chairman of Citicorp shares the leadership of $747 billion-asset Citigroup with Sanford I. Weill, 65, former chairman of Travelers Group.

A Citigroup spokesman acknowledged that Mr. Reed has not spoken of his eventual departure this openly before, but he stressed that there were no firm plans. "He was talking about a process, not a timetable," the spokesman said.

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