A plaque remaining from the Big Apple Night Club at West 135th Street and Seventh Avenue in Harlem.

Above, a 1934 plaque from the Big Apple Night Club at West 135th Street and Seventh Avenue in Harlem. Discarded as trash in 2006.

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Entry from December 27, 2010
“We have to dance until the music stops”

Citigroup CEO Chuck Prince told the Financial Times in July 2007: “When the music stops, in terms of liquidity, things will be complicated. But as long as the music is playing, you’ve got to get up and dance. We’re still dancing.” Prince didn’t “dance” for much longer—in November 2007, he retired from Citigroup.

Financier George Soros told the documentary film Inside Job (2010): “[Former CitiBank CEO] Chuck Prince famously said we have to dance until the music stops. Actually the music had stopped already when he said that.” The Soros formulation of the saying—“We have to dance until the music stops”—has been an infrequent interpretation of Prince’s actual remarks.


Wikipedia: Charles Prince
Charles O. “Chuck” Prince, III (born January 13, 1950) is an American former chief executive officer (CEO) and chairman of Citigroup. He succeeded Sandy Weill as the CEO of the firm in 2003, and as the Chairman of the Board in 2006. On November 4, 2007 he retired from both his CEO and chairman duties due to unexpectedly poor 3rd quarter performance, mainly due to CDO and MBS related losses, while still receiving a $38m pay package.

Financial Times
Citigroup chief stays bullish on buy-outs
By Michiyo Nakamoto in Tokyo and David Wighton in New York
Published: July 9 2007 22:08 | Last updated: July 9 2007 22:08
Chuck Prince on Monday dismissed fears that the music was about to stop for the cheap credit-fuelled buy-out boom, saying Citigroup was “still dancing”.
(...)
“When the music stops, in terms of liquidity, things will be complicated. But as long as the music is playing, you’ve got to get up and dance. We’re still dancing,” he said in an interview with the FT in Japan.

NYTimes.com - DealBook
July 10, 2007, 10:54 am Investment Banking
Citi Chief on Buyouts: ‘We’re Still Dancing’
By DEALBOOK
Citigroup’s chief executive, Charles O. Prince, says his bank hasn’t pulled back from making loans to provide funds for private equity deals, despite a skittish credit market and concerns that the recent run of big buyout deals could be losing steam.

But Mr. Prince used an interesting metaphor to describe his company’s situation as a major provider of financing for leveraged buyouts. “As long as the music is playing, you’ve got to get up and dance,” he told The Financial Times on Monday, adding, “We’re still dancing.”

New York (NY) Times
Insider
20/20 Hindsight Through What Were Once Rose-Colored Glasses

By JENNY ANDERSON
Published: August 31, 2007
(...)
Citigroup’s chief executive, Charles O. Prince III, said it right when he said that as long as the music is playing, the banks have to keep dancing. In a boom, they are all addicts who can’t say no. Until they collapse from an overdose at the disco.

Bloomberg
CP Fund Adds New Pyramid Scheme Layer: Mark Gilbert
Commentary by Mark Gilbert - October 18, 2007 05:43 EDT
Oct. 18 (Bloomberg)—``As long as the music is playing, you’ve got to get up and dance,’’ Citigroup Inc. Chief Executive Charles Prince told the Financial Times in July. What happens, though, if the dancehall threatens to collapse before the band strikes up its next tune?

Business Insider
Pathetic Bear Stearns Bailout: Who To Blame
Henry Blodget | Mar. 14, 2008, 11:11 AM
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COMMENTS
bw on Mar 14, 12:53 PM said:
(...)
Chuck Prince’s “dance until the music stops” was a great statement of financial irresponsibility, but it also contains a nugget of truth about corporate governance and investor relations these days. How long would Prince have remained on the job had Citi not been dancing and C’s 2005-1H06 EPS growth lagged its competitors by a factor of 10?

New York (NY) Times
Dealbook
Seeking a Partner at the Dance

By ANDREW ROSS SORKIN
Published: October 13, 2008
“As long as the music is playing, you’ve got to get up and dance.”

Remember that classic? It came from Charles O. Prince III, then chief executive of Citigroup, in July 2007, just as Wall Street’s dancehall was about to burn down. “We’re still dancing,” he said.

Here we are, more than a year later. Mr. Prince is long gone. But Vikram S. Pandit, who inherited Mr. Prince’s mess, is dancing fast — and increasingly, it seems, all by himself.

Seven Lessons from the Last Three Years - Speech by Sir John Gieve ...Feb 19, 2009
Chuck Prince, the ex-chief of Citi, has been widely condemned for saying : ‘as long as the music is playing, you’ve got to get up and dance.’ But in a provocative way he was doing little more than state the obvious. ... dance until the music stops but then to get to the exits before its competitors - to take the profits when they are available and to close out risks as near as possible to the downturn (or even better profit from their competitors’ remaining exposures). ...

New York (NY) Times
Sluggers and Bankers in the Strikeout Era
By PETER S. GOODMAN
Published: January 16, 2010
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The former Citigroup chief executive Charles O. Prince III once confessed that he knew his aggressive deal-making would most likely end in trouble once the easy money stopped flowing. Still, he said he felt powerless to pull back. “As long as the music is playing, you’ve got to get up and dance,” he told The Financial Times in summer 2007, even as credit markets began to shudder. “We’re still dancing.”

That bit of candor spoke to the pressures financial executives felt to keep pace with their rivals, even as the rivals were marching in lockstep over the cliff. On Wall Street, no one draws a bonus for deals they prudently do not make.

Rudofsky Associates, LLC
Inside Job (the movie) is like Frontline on Steroids
Posted by Rudofsky Associates on December 1, 2010
(...)
Here are a couple of particularly compelling quotes from the film:

George Soros saying:  “[Former CitiBank CEO] Chuck Prince famously said we have to dance until the music stops.  Actually the music had stopped already when he said that.”

Posted by Barry Popik
New York CityBanking/Finance/Insurance • (0) Comments • Monday, December 27, 2010 • Permalink