In good times, white dudes like Sandy Weill, Charles Prince, and Bob Rubin ran Citigroup. Now that the world's most tentacular megabank is running aground, who's working the buckets? People of color.
Citi's chairman, Richard Parsons, the ebullient former Time Warner CEO, was spotted driving up to the White House Monday afternoon. Who was he meeting with? Valerie Jarrett, a top advisor to Barack Obama. The object of their meeting? Brokering some deal to shore up the finances of Citi, run by one Vikram Pandit, with the government taking up to a 40 percent stake in the troubled bank.
How typical that Wall Street and Washington's ruling classes only cede power to people with different skin tones when the situation gets desperate. It's progress, of a sort. How typical of the white male power establishment, though, to hand over the prize only after it's gotten tarnished.