Michael Colbart, Citigroup’s former chief of Europe, Middle East and Africa, will take over as CEO, effective immediately.
Pandit, who famously told Congress that he would work for a salary $1 a year during the bailout, received significant praise for guiding the bank during the ’08 financial crisis. His departure from Citigroup comes as a total shock to Wall Street, where the conspiracy theories now quickly abound.
What appears to be likely: Pandit clashed with the company’s board over the bank’s strategy and performance and shareholders objected to his massive pay packages – projected at $261 million since he joined the bank in 2007.
“It could be that Pandit is leaving because he has been weakened by poor leadership and humbling missteps. In March, the Federal Reserve rebuffed Citi’s plans to increase its dividend, saying the bank didn’t display sufficient financial strength. In April, in a rare move, investors voted down Pandit’s $15 million pay package. That’s an embarrassing pair of black eyes for any CEO to receive, and it left him vulnerable to internal rivals.”