In a shocking move, Citigroup Inc chief executive Vikram Pandit resigned on October 16, just a day after the bank posted strong quarterly results.
Board chairman Michael O'Neill criticized the Nagpur-born Pandit for being too detached from the bank's day-to-day operations; even as many felt that the 55-year-old was too ‘cerebral’ to lead the giant consumer bank. Pandit holds two electrical engineering degrees and a doctorate in finance from Columbia University.
Pandit was also slammed by critics for the bank's failure to win regulatory approval to buy back shares or boost its dividend in March.
The former hedge-fund manager left after nearly five years at the helm, most of which were during the challenging global financial crisis. Pandit responded fast, declaring to the board, “My salary should be $1 per year with no bonus until we return to profitability."
But after two years, in January 2011, his annual base was raised to $1.75 million. In May that year, Citi announced $23.2m retention award to Pandit making him one of the highest paid CEOs.
According to media reports, the pay issue was thought to still be a source of friction internally.
Yet, many are not surprised by Pandit’s exit – even claiming he had been thinking about early retirement for some time. "It was never my ambition that this would be the last thing I do in my life," a Reuters report quoted Pandit as saying.
However, in November, Citigroup said it will pay $15.5 million to Pandit, following his resignation. Michael Corbat, head of Europe, Middle East, and Africa at Citigroup, replaced Vikram Pandit as Citi’s CEO.