Rogers Holdings Chairman Jim Rogers spoke with FOX Business Network’s (FBN) Liz Claman and David Asman about the departure of Citigroup CEO Vikram Pandit and the state of the global economy. Regarding Pandit’s sudden departure, Rogers said that the Citigroup (C) stock has “done nothing for a long long long time” and that the “rest of the balance sheet is not very strong” so “the board finally realized he didn’t know anything about banking.” Rogers went on to discuss his recent short on JPMorgan, saying the London Whale is “old news. You don’t short something for old news. But the stock is back to all time highs. Is the world that good? I think the world has got problems facing it.”
Excerpts from the interview are below:
On whether he would buy stock in Citigroup following the resignation from CEO Vikram Pandit:
“Absolutely not with my money or with your money. But I want to know why he got the job in the first place. Here’s a guy who failed at a hedge fund manager, had a mediocre hedge fund. All of a sudden he sold it to Citibank for a lot of money…a hedge fund with a mediocre record. Why did they buy it in the first place. Why did they make him CEO.”
On rumors of Treasury Secretary Tim Geithner joining Citigroup:
“Oh my god you are bad for my nervous system. If that happens I would short it again…have you ever known Mr. Geithner to be right about anything. For goodness sake.”
On the past performance of Citibank:
“I don’t bank there so I don’t know but if your checks clear, I presume it’s ok. If that’s all you need from them, great. The stock has done nothing for a long long long time…But the rest of the balance sheet is not very strong. Who knows what’s in there… I am saying I don’t know why he ever got the job in the first place. I think the board finally realized he didn’t know anything about banking. This is a man who was never a commercial banker you know. Citibank is supposedly a huge commercial bank which just makes my point.”
On who he thinks would be a good replacement for Pandit:
“You pick the person. I don’t know. But certainly not a hedge fund manager.”
On whether Citigroup is too big to manage:
“Don’t say that. They’ve got the new guy who I don’t know, but he’s been a banker for 30 years, so you would presume he knows something about banker. The guy who left didn’t know anything about banking. So maybe this bank will be run by a banker.”
On whether he’s betting on any financial stocks:
“I am short JPMorgan as of yesterday. I am short the calls for JPMorgan. If you call that betting on something. Their commodities division, they’ve got someone in there that doesn’t understand commodities. They’ve got big problems in their credit card division says I. Stocks near it’s all time high. It can’t be as good as that. The world says everything is fine. I don’t think the world is fine.”
On whether the London Whale problem is behind JPMorgan:
“It probably is. That probably is behind them. That’s old news. You don’t short something for old news. But the stock is back to all time highs. Is the world that good? I think the world has got problems facing it.”
On being bullish on Russia:
“I’ve been bearish on Russia for 46 years…it seems to me that Mr. Putin and the government is finally getting its acts together and realized you can’t just take money away from people. If you want to have a place in the international community you’ve got to play by the same rules as everybody else…In my view things have changed there…I think that maybe if they were crooks before that’s changed. I think Mr. Putin and his allies now realize that way doesn’t work anymore. I cannot defend past actions. We will see. I do not defend past actions in Russia. You can ask me in 10 years if I was right or not.”
*CREDIT: FOX BUSINESS NETWORK**
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