December 16, 2007
Written by C.N.
I’m not exactly sure how many CEOs in the Fortune 500 there are, but I’m pretty sure it’s rather small, with just one Asian American female among that list. Whatever that number is, it just grew by one as Indian American Vikram Pandit was recently named as CEO of CitiGroup, one of the largest and most powerful financial services corporations in the world:
Citigroup Inc. named Vikram Pandit, the head of its investment banking business, as chief executive Tuesday, after searching five weeks for someone to restore the bank’s profitability and reputation. . . .
Pandit faces multiple challenges. He must not only attract more cash to offset Citi’s debt and bulk up the bank’s risk management, but he also needs to strengthen Citi’s lackluster consumer-oriented businesses and clean up its reputation. . . .
Rubin said after Prince’s resignation that the search committee was looking for someone to focus on Citigroup’s “multiplicity of businesses” and with “a strong international focus.”
Pandit, though he spent his childhood in India, has little experience with banking abroad. His strengths are his decades on Wall Street and his analytical mind. . . .
Some see [Pandit's] lack of flash and pizazz as a drawback, though to others, a cool, quiet demeanor in the top spot could be just what is needed at a company often criticized as arrogant.
I’m not a Wall Street analyst, so I can’t really speculate on how well Pandit is likely to do as CitiGroup’s new CEO. However, as an Asian American, I am glad and encouraged to see that the corporate world is apparently becoming more open to promoting Asian Americans into top executive positions.
It will take many more executives like Pandit to break through the glass ceiling barriers that in many ways, still limit the advancement of many Asian Americans into the often opaque realm of corporate leadership. Nonetheless, this is a very positive step in that direction and I wish Pandit the best.
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Suggested reference: Le, C.N. . "Indian American Becomes CEO of CitiGroup" Asian-Nation: The Landscape of Asian America. <http://www.asian-nation.org/headlines/2007/12/indian-american-becomes-ceo-of-citigroup/> ().
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