In an unexpected move, Citibank’s Board of Directors announced this morning that Vikram Pandit would step down as CEO effective immediately. The Board also announced John Havens’ resignation as President and Chief Operating Officer.
An official statement posted on Citibank’s website this morning confirmed the resignations but failed to state any reasons for this abrupt change in key personnel. This news is particularly surprising in light of the bank’s recent earnings performance. Citibank’s third-quarter earnings, after one-time write downs, came in at $3.27 billion, or $1.06 a share, and beat Thomson Reuters’ estimates of $0.96 a share.
Although reasons for the sudden departure are not clear, it is well known that the relationship between Mr. Pandit, the Board of Directors and Citibank shareholders was often strained. This morning, The Wall Street Journal reports that the decision came after a final clash between Mr. Pandit and “… the board over strategy and operating performance at businesses.” Earlier this year in April, shareholders showed their displeasure with the Board of Director’s compensation plan by refusing to ratify Mr. Pandit’s $15 million pay package.
Taking over for Mr. Pandit is Michael Corbat , who until today was CEO for Citibank’s divisions in Europe, Africa and the Middle East. Mr. Corbat has been employed at Citibank since 1983 and was previously in charge of Citi Holdings.