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HindustanTimes Fri,25 Jul 2014

Ex-Citigroup CEO Pandit floats firm to help bankers avoid fraud

Yashwant Raj, Hindustan Times  Washington, February 21, 2014
First Published: 10:08 IST(21/2/2014) | Last Updated: 10:35 IST(21/2/2014)

Two years after being thrown out of Citigroup Inc, India-born Vikram Pandit's quest for his next platform continues — he has now started a new venture, to advise bankers.

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Pandit, 57, is collaborating with one of the authors of the popular book Freakonomics and a Nobel prize winner in this new venture, which is called TGG (no expansions available).

This is his second big move since he left the New York multinational banking giant he steered out of recession in 2012 but failed to keep his job as its CEO.

His first, announced in a press statement in May 2013, was to set up a new bank with Nimesh Kampani's JM Financial. Nothing more has been heard of it since.

There has been no official announcements about Pandit's new venture yet. The Wall Street Journal reported about it based on an email TGG sent to executives at Deutsche Bank.

It pitched "a novel approach to address the challenges that large complex organizations face in compliance, fraud, corruption, and culture and reputation".

The mail was sent by Hamid Biglari, close aide of Pandit while he was at Citigroup. He is now a managing partner at TGG.

Other than that — as mentioned in the TGG mail to Deutsche Bank — Freakonomics co-author Steve Levitt and Nobel prize winner Daniel Kahneman were partners.

Citigroup board removed Pandit in 2012, frustrated with his working style, and prickly relations with government regulators who had taken on an oversized role in the bank.

After keeping low for a while, Pandit surfaced with a plan to start a bank in India with Kampani's JM Financial. As a start he was to buy 50% stake in a JM Financial subsidiary. Pandit was named a non-executive chairman of the bank.

He was also named the non-executive chairman of JM Financial into which he was to invest $100 million. And together they were to invest the same amount in a distressed asset fund.


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