Vikram Pandit steps down as Citigroup CEO

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Vikram Pandit abruptly stepped down as CEO of Citigroup today, surprising Wall Street, after steering the bank through the 2008 financial crisis and the choppy years that followed.

Pandit’s replacement, effective immediately, is Michael Corbat, who had been CEO of Citigroup’s Europe, Middle East and Africa division, the bank said. Corbat has worked at Citi and its predecessors since he graduated from Harvard in 1983, it said.

Pandit will also relinquish his seat on Citi’s board of directors. A second top executive also resigned as part of the shake-up: President and Chief Operating Officer John Havens, who also served as CEO of Citi’s Institutional Client Group.

The news shocked Wall Street, a day after the bank easily beat analyst expectations for its quarterly earnings. Investors sent the stock price to its highest level since early April.

Citigroup offered no explanation for the sudden departures.

Pandit is credited with slimming the bank by selling businesses, removing it from government ownership after a bailout in 2008 and righting its balance sheet after billions in losses on bad mortgage investments made before he took the helm.

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