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People & markets: Citi to select alternatives head

Citigroup CEO Charles Prince said in March that he hoped that the vacant position of head of the group’s alternatives business (CAI) would be filled within weeks. It’s about time.

The position has been empty since the departure in March 2006 of Michael Carpenter, who is thought to be pursuing an individual venture.

In the interim, Citi’s chief administrative officer, Lewis Kaden, has taken on the role, but sources at the firm say morale is at an all-time low. "Why is it taking so long to fill this role? Employees are becoming frustrated by the seeming lack of dedication to replacing Carpenter," says a disgruntled employee. Other sources at the firm say that Prince has been interviewing for the position for some time and came close to filling it at the end of 2006, but it was decided the fit was not quite right. "It’s not through lack of trying that the position remains vacant," one source says, adding that there have been a handful of candidates. "It’s a very important business to the group and Chuck wants to appoint the right person to fill it."

Analysts say Prince’s dawdling approach to filling the position does not hint at a future sale of the business. CAI has almost $50 billion in assets under management in private equity, hedge funds, real estate and structured products, and more than 850 employees.

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