Rubin Quits Citi; Smith Barney for Sale

Ex-Treasury Sec. saw company's stock dive 90% since late '06
By Will McCahill,  Newser Staff
Posted Jan 9, 2009 3:15 PM CST

(Newser) – Former Treasury Secretary Robert Rubin is leaving his posts at struggling Citigroup, the Wall Street Journal reports. He retired as a senior counselor effective today, and won’t pursue another term on the board of directors. Journal sources also say Citigroup is in talks to sell Smith Barney, its brokerage and asset-management unit. A joint venture with Morgan Stanley is one option under consideration, they say.

Rubin joined the firm in 1999 and was instrumental in decisions in 2004-05 to add risk to the company’s investment portfolio—moves that resulted in its stock value tumbling 90% since 2006. Rubin cited broader trouble in the financial system for Citigroup’s continuing ills, and, a source told the Journal, he is “tired of it.” The company lost $20 billion in the past year and had to turn to the federal government for $45 billion in bailout funds. The 70-year-old Rubin plans to spend more time on nonprofit and other outside endeavors.