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Former Bankoh CEO O’Neill to replace UH alumnus Parsons as chairman of Citigroup

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    FILE - The Citibank logo is shown on a branch office in this April 11

Former Bank of Hawaii CEO Michael O’Neill has been named chairman of Citigroup Inc. to replace University of Hawaii alumnus Richard Parsons, who is stepping down from that position after overseeing the company’s recovery from near-collapse in 2008.

O’Neill, 65, will take over after the firm’s shareholder meeting in April, the New York-based bank said today in a statement. Parsons, 63, spent 16 years on the board, becoming chairman in 2009 after the bank’s $45 billion bailout by U.S. taxpayers.

Citigroup is the third-biggest U.S. lender by assets. Last September, O’Neill was named chairman of Citibank NA, the primary banking subsidiary of Citigroup. O’Neill joined the Citigroup board in 2009.

“Given the strong position that Citi is in today, I have concluded that the time has come for me to take my leave,” Parsons said in the statement. “I have complete confidence in the management team, the actions they have taken to strengthen Citi, and the course they have charted for the future.”

O’Neill, who was hired as chairman and CEO at Bank of Hawaii on Nov. 3, 2000, transformed the bank into a more efficient operation, increased earnings to record highs and saw the stock price rise nearly fourfold before stepping down at age 57 in August 2004 to spend more time with his two sons on the East Coast and to look after his mainland and real estate investments.

He also became somewhat of a local TV personality with the bank’s “Tell Mike” campaign.

O’Neill inherits a board grappling with a slump in revenue, higher costs and new regulations as CEO Vikram Pandit pushes the firm into emerging markets. The bank has repaid the U.S. Treasury Department’s rescue, which generated a profit of about $12 billion for taxpayers. The firm posted total net income of $21.9 billion for 2010 and 2011, compared with $29.3 billion of losses for 2008 and 2009.

“In Mike O’Neill, the board will have the perfect leader to enable it to continue providing the oversight and guidance America’s global bank deserves,” Parsons said.

O’Neill declined to comment in an email.

Parsons, who grew up in Brooklyn’s Bedford-Stuyvesant neighborhood, joined President Barack Obama’s advisory panel on jobs in February 2011. He is a senior adviser to Rhode Island-based Providence Equity Partners Inc., which specializes in buying media and telecommunications businesses.

Prior to taking over for Larry Johnson at Bank of Hawaii, O’Neill was a Bank of America Corp. executive in the 1990s. O’Neill served in the U.S. Marine Corps before joining Continental Bank Corp., which later was bought by Charlotte, N.C.-based Bank of America.

At Citigroup, he heads a committee overseeing Citi Holdings, the unit that contains more than $200 billion of the bank’s unwanted assets. He’s also a member of the executive committee and the personnel and compensation committee, according to the company’s website.

O’Neill was appointed CEO of Barclays Plc in February 1999. He resigned before taking the post after a bout with the flu led to complications from an irregular heartbeat, the London-based bank said at the time.

Board members Alain Belda and Timothy Collins also will leave the panel, Citigroup said.

Citigroup’s stock slipped 3 cents to $34.10 today on the New York Stock Exchange. The announcement was made after the market closed.


Star-Advertiser reporter Dave Segal and Bloomberg News contributed to this story.

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