Tags: Pandit | ceo | Citigroup | force

Pandit: I Wasn't Forced Out of Citi, 'It Was the Right Time' to Go

Tuesday, 16 Oct 2012 05:03 PM

Citigroup CEO Vikram Pandit caught Wall Street off guard by announcing plans to step down but insists he was not forced to quit by the board of directors.

“After five years of accomplishing what we needed to do, it was the right time” to step down, Pandit told CNBC, adding he wasn't running from potential problems at the bank either.

“If I thought there were any blowups, I wouldn’t leave,” Pandit said. Pandit added that he his decision had nothing to do with compensation.

Editor's Note: Economist Warns: ‘Money From Heaven a Path to Hell.’ See Evidence.

"Let's not forget, I was the one who worked for a dollar when I needed to," Pandit said.

"It was just time after five years of accomplishing what we set out to do."
Citi's board and Pandit have reportedly been locking horns over strategies and operating performance.

Still, many believe the bank's board of directors forced him out, including CNBC stock commentator Jim Cramer.

"A high-level person told me he was forced out last night," Cramer said on CNBC.

"This is a complete shock. No one expected this whatsoever,” Cramer added.
Citigroup named Michael Corbat as its new CEO.

Wall Street was surprised to hear the news, considering the bank was in good health.

"The divisions were all in very good shape," Cramer said.

"I don’t even want for a second to tell people that there was anything in the works to make this happen. There was nothing…this was the quarter where you give him a big raise, he was under a lot of pressure but he got this right.”

Others expressed surprise as well.

"There's shock," a Citigroup executive based in New York told the Wall Street Journal.

"Even senior people were surprised."

Citigroup's third-quarter earnings, excluding items, hit $1.06 per share, down from $1.23 a share during the same quarter a year ago.

Revenue fell to $19.4 billion from $20.83 billion a year earlier.

Both items beat expectations, as analysts had expected the company to report earnings excluding items of 96 cents a share on $18.71 billion in revenue, according to a consensus estimate from Thomson Reuters.

Earlier this year, the Federal Reserve rejected the bank's capital plans and dividend increase after a stress test, CNBC reported, adding that under Pandit, the bank also sold a stake in a brokerage operated by Morgan Stanley for a low price.

Meanwhile, Pandit’s departure will help the bank, said Sheila Bair, who clashed with him when she was chairman of the FDIC.

“This was a very positive move and the board discharged its responsibilities, and I think they should be commended,” Bair said in an interview with Tom Keene on Bloomberg Radio.

Pandit, a former hedge fund manager who had led the company since 2007, wasn’t a good fit because of his lack of experience in more traditional banking, Bair said, while praising the board of directors, led by Chairman Michael O’Neill.

“I did have concerns about Mr. Pandit’s qualifications to serve as the CEO of the largest commercial bank, because he had never been a commercial banker,” she told Bloomberg News.

“O’Neill is a former commercial banker, he does have a very good reputation, a very good track record, understands banking, and I have a lot of confidence that he and his board are making the right decision.”

Editor's Note: Economist Warns: ‘Money From Heaven a Path to Hell.’ See Evidence.

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Citigroup CEO Vikram Pandit caught Wall Street off guard by announcing plans to step down but insists he was not forced to quit by the board of directors.
Pandit,ceo,Citigroup,force
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2012-03-16
Tuesday, 16 Oct 2012 05:03 PM
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