Vikram Pandit, Columbia diploma hoarder, resigned this morning as CEO of Citigroup, effective immediately. Unlike other alums, Pandit has made appearances on campus, including at SIPA graduation and as one of the few non-political leaders at the World Leaders Forum. Outside of the Morningside Heights bubble, he has truly made a name for himself. Pandit was appointed CEO of Citibank in 2007 and was there throughout the economic crisis. You may know him as that guy who almost bought a private jet for the bank after being given TARP funds. On the other hand, you may know him as that guy who took a $1 annual salary until his company returned to profitability. (Not to worry, after 2 years he got his salary back with a $23.2 million retention award.)
While Pandit was able to successfully steer Citigroup back to profitability and earn $12 billion in profit for taxpayers from the bailout funds, he is criticized for not doing it at a fast enough pace and not having enough foresight. Just yesterday the bank reported third-quarter earnings exceeding expectations, but it was not as much as it could have been doing, especially compared to other banks. Nonetheless, his abrupt departure was surprising, with Times reporting that “a huge gasp was audible on the trading floor in Manhattan as employees watched the news on monitors showing CNBC.” Pandit was one of three CEOs who stuck if out through the financial crisis; now only Jamie Dimon (JP Morgan) and Lloyd Blankfein (Goldman) remain.
Pandit spreading knowledge via Wikimedia Commons