Page Six has a story that hints that a high ranking Citigroup official departed the company because he was making the company jet available to friends, including CNBC’s Maria Bartiromo…
Sources said that Thomson, whose unit was a financial success story inside the firm, had been warned about his high-flying ways - but that the tipping point came when Bartiromo joined him on the Citi corporate jet between New York and Beijing last year.
A CNBC spokesman later said: “Maria sought and received approval in advance to fly to Asia on Citi’s jet. Billing was handled between CNBC’s corporate parent and Citi.”
Bartiromo, reached via e-mail in Davos, Switzerland, said any connection to Thomson’s departure was “flat-out wrong.”
UPDATE: The New York Times’ Eric Dash has the story as well…
Concerns about the performance of the global wealth management business had dogged Mr. Thomson. And over the last year, there were questions about his judgment and he appeared to have lost Mr. Prince’s trust, say people close to the situation. They say that there have been concerns within the bank about Mr. Thomson’s use of Citigroup corporate jets, including at least one occasion when he used the jet to ferry Maria Bartiromo, a correspondent for CNBC, to an event in Asia.
In a brief interview, Mr. Prince declined to comment on Mr. Thomson’s departure. “I am trying to focus on the positive side,” Mr. Prince said.
Citigroup is still in negotiations over Mr. Thomson’s severance package.
“Maria asked in advance and was given permission, and billing was arranged in advance for CNBC to pay for the Asia trip,” Kevin Goldman, a CNBC spokesman, said.