January 17, 2009

Banking is not a game of musical chairs

"As long as the music is playing, you've got to get up and dance", Chuck Prince, then CEO of Citigroup, to the Financial Times in 2007. (Referring to lending to private equity firms doing leveraged buyouts.)

"One of the toughest jobs as CEO is to look at all the stupid things other people are doing and to not do them - because maybe you're the stupid one," - Bob Willumstad, former president and COO of Citigroup.

Given the losses and dismantling of Citigroup, it is pretty obvious that too much dancing (and the accompanying drinking) can result in such a hangover that it is often best to leave well before the music stops playing. Because if you don't, you were just one of the guys and girls doing something really stupid. Like wrecking the global financial system.

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