In a surprising move that has shocked Wall Street, the chief executive officer of Citigroup Inc., resigned Tuesday, just one day after America’s third largest bank posted surprisingly strong quarterly earnings.
Vikram Pandit, along with Citi President and Chief Operating Officer John Havens, stepped down, fueling speculation about why the two top executives quit simultaneously.
Citi’s board of directors announced that Michael Corbat, the company’s CEO of Europe, the Middle East and Africa, has replaced Pandit.
“Given the progress we have made in the last few years, I have concluded that now is the right time for someone else to take the helm at Citigroup,” Pandit said in a statement. “I could not be leaving the company in better hands.”
Pandit led Citi through the 2008 financial crisis and the tumultuous years that followed. He is credited with downsizing the bank by selling businesses, removing it from government ownership after the 2008 bailout and righting its balance sheet after billions in losses on bad mortgage investments made before he took the helm, the Associated Press reported.
“We respect Vikram’s decision. Since his appointment at the start of the financial crisis until the present time, Vikram has restructured and recapitalized the Company, strengthened our global franchise and re-focused the business,” Michael O’Neill, chairman of Citigroup’s board, said in a statement.
According to the US Federal Reserve, Citi is America’s third largest bank, with $1.9 trillion in assets. It trails only JPMorgan Chase, with $2.3 trillion, and Bank of America, with $2.1 trillion.
Pandit, 55, was born in India and is a US citizen.