Wall Street Bets On Next Firm CEO To Go

The Street.com reports that Wall Street's latest betting game centres around who is most likely to resign first - Citigroup's Sandy Weill or JP Morgan Chase's Bill Harrison.

Both chief executives are under fire and look vulnerable - but for very different reasons.

Although the Citigroup boss, Sandy Weill, is justly credited with creating the financial services giant and has presided over a period of record profits, he is coming under pressure to resign as securities regulators continue to probe his role in the so-called AT&T affair. Weill has admitted asking former Salomon star telecoms analyst Jack Grubman to take another look at AT&T stock in 1999, at a time when his firm was receiving lucrative underwriting and advisory work from the corporate.

Grubman did take another look at the stock and promptly uprated it. Although there is no suggestion that Weill intended to illegally influence Grubman, he has come under fire for, at the very least, a lack of judgment in asking Grubman to review his work. Weill will probably ride out the current storm, but the word on the Street is that he is fatally wounded and will probably go some time next year with his dignity intact.

The smart money is on Harrison not lasting as long. His 'crime' ? Merging Chase with JP Morgan and presiding over an unprofitable bank which appears to be sadly lacking direction. Others accused of similar 'crimes' in the past fell on their swords when the heat became unbearable. Harrison is down, but not out. His hold on his current job is, however, rather precarious and his destiny may no longer be in his own hands. A further fall in the share price, another quarterly loss or the loss of the high profile $1bn Enron insurance case may be all that it will take for him to be forced out.

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