Sanford I. Weill, former chairman and chief executive officer of Travelers Group, now co-CEO of the recently formed Citigroup, New York, is known for his feisty, aggressive manner. It was much in evidence in an exchange with corporate governance activist Nell Minow, principal of LENS Inc., at the fall meeting in New York of the Council of Institutional Investors.
After Mr. Weill finished a speech on the strengths of his newly merged company, Ms. Minow asked him about the firm's corporate governance policies. She specifically asked if the proxy votes Citigroup casts in its role as an investment manager will be influenced by its other primary business, as a banker to major corporations.
Mr. Weill responded by citing the shareholder value given by Travelers, and now Citigroup. "We always deliver shareholder value," he said. "We have no golden parachutes, no poison pills, no staggered board, and we have great diversity on our board."
Ms. Minow replied, "That's not what I was asking."
Mr. Weill then jumped in and said, "I know exactly what you were asking," cutting her off and taking a question from another member of the audience.
After the session was over, Ms. Minow fumed, "he never answered my question."