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Weill takes hands-on retirement

Afer three years of speculation about his departure, Citigroup's CEO Sandy Weil has finally named a successor. But the story doesn't end there.

Sandy-Weill 160x186
Sandy Weill

WHEN CITIGROUP CHAIRMAN and CEO Sandy Weill announced last month that he was to hand over the role of CEO to Charles Prince, there was a slew of speculation from various interested parties. None, perhaps, was as wistful as that doing the rounds of Citi's Latin America bankers: is Chuck Prince Latin American at all?

It's not as offbeat a question as it seems. Former Citigroup co-CEO John Reed had some Latin blood flowing through his veins, and vice-chairman Bill Rhodes has long been treated as an honorary Venezuelan.

If Prince were so connected, the Latin bankers' reasoning went, perhaps his appointment would herald a resurgence of interest in the region at head office, an interest some feel has been lacking since Reed lost his battle with then co-CEO Weill in early 2000.

But almost everyone else at Citgroup has three very different questions on their lips. Why has Weill done this now? Why Prince? And does it really make any difference?

The timing caught many by surprise. Weill has tried hard in the nearly three-and-a-half years since he ousted Reed to avoid references to succession plans.

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