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Russell Forenza of Ridgewood, Leads Shareholders Critical of Citigroup’s Corbat on stock price


Kaja Whitehouse, USAToday5:19 p.m. EDT April 28, 2015

Despite Michael Corbat’s success since taking over as CEO in 2012, Citigroup shareholders complained bitterly at the company’s annual shareholder meeting Tuesday over the lagging stock price.

“You guys say how great you are, and I think you’re not so great,” said Russell Forenza of Ridgewood, N.J. “You guys always get your money. The shareholders got zero,” said Forenza, who has been a shareholder since 1977. He lost $1.5 million due to the stock’s recent declines, he said in an interview.

Citigroup stock (C), which Tuesday rose 22 cents to $53.02, is below where shareholders think it should be, especially long-term shareholders who saw the stock trade upward of the equivalent of $400 and even $500 for years before plummeting to $15 in 2009.

“I told my husband we should have sold that stock,” said Sylvia Hack in an interview. The New York City resident said she lost roughly $500,000 on Citigroup. After the company’s 1-for-10 reverse stock split in 2011, she saw her stake dwindle from 4,800 shares to 480 shares.

It’s not just long-term shareholders who are concerned, either. Corbat and Citigroup Chairman Michael O’Neill fielded questions Tuesday about why the stock still trades at a discount to its tangible book value, or roughly $58 a share, when other peers have already surpassed this benchmark. Tangible book value is a measure of what shareholders would get if a company were to liquidate.

“We’re doing everything we can to get the stock price back up,” O’Neill told shareholders at the meeting in downtown Manhattan. “We understand that it has been a rough ride for you and the audience. But it’s taking time,” O’Neill said of the stock, which is down 66% over the last decade.