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Citigroup loses CEO and COO in one week

Citigroup loses CEO and COO in one week

(18 October 2012 – USA) Citigroup’s chief executive, Vikram Pandit has quit abruptly after months of simmering tensions with the bank’s board. Pandit told Reuters the decision to leave was his own, and that he had been contemplating the move for some time.

Multiple sources within and outside the bank said Pandit's departure followed months of tension with chairman Michael O'Neill over a range of issues, including compensation and the role of chief operating officer, John Havens. On Tuesday, Havens also resigned.

Senior executives were mostly stunned by Pandit's departure. It is not clear precisely what led Pandit to quit, but the decision to swiftly name Corbat as chief executive, is a clear sign that O'Neill is now fully in control of the bank, according to one person familiar with Citigroup.

A third person familiar with the bank told Reuters that Pandit and O'Neill clashed because the chairman wanted the CEO 'to get in line soldier-style.'

Pandit's resignation followed a series of high-profile mishaps this year. In March, the Federal Reserve rejected the bank's plans to return capital to shareholders; Pandit had told analysts and investors the bank had enough capital to return some to shareholders.

'The bank is actually in damn good shape. When I came in to the business, we had to restore confidence and rebuild capital. I feel we have done that,' he said.

The timing made sense because the bank is planning for 2013, and he did not want to be setting a strategy that someone else would have to execute, Pandit said.

'I wouldn't have done this now if I didn't think the timing was right,' he added.

Pandit's successor, Corbat, has held a number of senior roles at Citigroup, including running Citi Holdings, the unit established to house businesses and assets that the company wants to shed.
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