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Former Citigroup Exec Tapped as NYSE Interim Chair - 2003-09-21

The New York Stock Exchange has tapped former Citigroup executive John Reed to be its interim chairman. The announcement comes days after the former chairman was forced to resign amid controversy over his large compensation package.

Speaking by telephone from France, Mr. Reed told reporters he envisions staying in his new position only for months, not years. "I do not think anybody benefits from having an interim administration. I think the institution and everybody would be much happier to have a permanent administration in place. So I think, 'with all deliberate speed' might be the appropriate phraseology," he said.

The former head of the New York Stock Exchange, Richard Grasso, was forced to resign last week, amid public anger over his $140 million compensation package.

Mr. Reed declined to comment on the circumstances of Mr. Grasso's departure, but he suggested salary will not be an issue. "I am going to be paid $1, I am told, which is the number we agreed on," he said. "And I think that is appropriate, given the role I am supposed to play and where we are. I have no other agreements, except that I have been elected, and presumably, if the board were to be unhappy, they could choose to throw me out anytime they chose to, and there would be no financial ramifications to that whatsoever."

Mr. Reed retired as chairman and chief co-executive of Citigroup in April 2000, after 35 years with the company and 16 years in the top spot. Citigroup is one of the world's largest investment banks.

Mr. Reed described himself as a complete outsider to the New York Stock Exchange, saying he has only visited the exchange building once in his long business career. He added that he has never spoken to Mr. Grasso, although he expects to soon. The interim New York Stock Exchange chairman will take up his new duties next week in New York.