When Christopher Steffen left Eastman Kodak in 1993 after 11 stormy weeks as chief financial officer, Kodak lost more than $1 billion in market value. But his Midas touch didn't last at his next job, as vice-chairman of Citicorp: He resigned abruptly on Dec. 8, and Citi's stock closed the day down a mere 3/16. Chairman and CEO John Reed offered only a brief statement thanking Steffen for his service and immediately named longtime Citibanker Victor Menezes to become CFO.
Why the departure? Sources say Steffen's pay, nearly $1.7 million in 1994, rankled some at Citi. And his mandate--to pare expenses and toughen up management practices--gave him little opportunity to forge alliances with bank veterans. Worse, Wall Street wasn't satisfied with the cost savings Steffen was delivering. Some major Citi shareholders may even have complained to Reed.
Where will Steffen go? He isn't saying. A headhunter called him about a vice-chairmanship, but Steffen said he wants to be a CEO. Anyone need a hired gun?