Vikram Pandit has officially resigned as the head of Citigroup in a move described as abrupt and a “shock,” just one day after a stronger than expected quarterly earnings report was released by the third largest US bank.
Vikram Pandit’s sudden jump ship from Citibank has not yet been explained, but Reuters speculates that given the timing and the seemingly sudden ouster of Citibank’s CEO, the move belies unrest at the company or an unspecified dispute within Citibank’s ranks. Earlier this year, Pandit’s $15 million pay package was rejected in a vote by the Board.
Shares in Citibank have been up since announcement of Vikram Pandit’s sudden departure, and the banker’s reign over the company was not one fondly regarded universally in the banking industry. Along with Pandit, Citibank’s Chief Operating Officer John Havens announced plans to break with the institution, something the newswire says is “another red flag.”
Vikram Pandit issued a statement immediately following the announcement, and within minutes, his name was removed from the major bank’s website. The statement said:
“Thanks to the dedication and sacrifice of people across Citigroup, we have emerged from the financial crisis as a strong institution. Citigroup is well-positioned for continued profitability and growth, having refocused the franchise on the basics of banking. 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.”
“I could not be leaving the Company in better hands. Mike is the right person to tackle the difficult challenges ahead, with a 29-year record of achievement and leadership at this Company. I will truly miss the wonderful people throughout this organization. But I know that together with Mike they will continue to build on the progress we have made.”
Michael E. O’Neill, Chairman of the Citigroup Board of Directors, also released a statement, which read in part:
“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. The Board and I are grateful to Vikram for his leadership, integrity and resilience in guiding Citi through the crisis and positioning it well for the future. We wish him all the best with the next stage in his career.”
Vikram Pandit’s sudden Citibank departure along with that of Havens has been attributed in part by those in the industry as a by-product of the “cloud of uncertainty” surrounding the bank which was described as “perpetual.”