Vikram Pandit (Jim Watson / Getty Images )
NEW YORK -- Vikram Pandit resigned as Citigroup Inc.'s chief executive Tuesday, in a surprise to Wall Street that comes a day after the country's third-largest bank announced stronger-than-expected earnings.
John Havens, Citi's president and chief operating officer, also stepped down Tuesday. The swiftness of the high-level departures fueled speculation about why the executives quit.
Citi's board of directors announced that Michael Corbat has replaced Pandit as CEO and would join the board (Pandit also resigned his board post). Corbat had been Citi's CEO of Europe, the Middle East and Africa.
"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 took Citi's helm in December 2007, when the Great Recession officially began and months before the tumultuous financial crisis.
In a statement, Michael O’Neill, chairman of Citigroup's board said: "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."
In trading before markets opened on Wall street, Citi's stock lost 63 cents, or 2%, to $36.03.
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