The challenges Citigroup faces as an institution - and they are monumental and sweeping - are ones Marty Lippert confronts every day. CEO Vikram Pandit is the public face of Citi, but it is Lippert, as chief of a newly centralized global technology and operations division, who is the fulcrum for the transformational change that Pandit has outlined, and that must occur if Citi is to survive to see its bicentennial in 2012.
Like the rest of the industry, Citi is caught in a 100-year storm, with things worsening since November when it announced massive layoffs and the government said it would not buy the kind of toxic assets that burden Citi's balance sheet, spooking investors. For a tense week the market wondered if Citi might actually fail, or be sold in a fire sale a la Bear Stearns. Instead, federal regulators stepped in with an unprecedented offer. The government will back about $306 billion in loans and securities and directly invest about $20 billion in the company.