New York: In a sudden exit, Citigroup's India-born CEO Vikram Pandit resigned on Tuesday after nearly a five-year tenure, just one day after the US banking giant reported an 88 percent drop in net profit for its third quarter.

Nagpur-born Columbia University graduate Pandit(55), who had been the CEO of Citigroup since December 2007, also resigned as a member of its Board in a shock decision after steering the bank through the 2008 financial crisis and the turbulent years that followed during a stormy tenure.

The Board of Directors has unanimously elected Michael Corbat CEO and a director of the Board, the company said in an unexpected announcement. The change is effective immediately.

Pandit said Citigroup has emerged from the financial crisis as a strong institution and "now is the right time for someone else to take the helm at Citigroup."

Citigroup further announced that President and Chief Operating Officer, John Havens, who also served as CEO of Citi’s Institutional Clients Group, has resigned. The bank offered no explanation for the sudden departure of its two top executives.

Though US's third largest bank reported 88 percent plunge in net profit at USD 468 million in the July-September quarter, the earnings beat analysts' expectations.

Pandit had taken over at the helm of Citigroup at the start of the financial crisis. In 2009 and 2010, as Pandit struggled to pull the bank back from the brink of the crisis, he famously accepted only a USD 1 annual salary.

"Thanks to the dedication and sacrifice of people across Citigroup, we have emerged from the financial crisis as a strong institution. Citigroup is well-positioned for continued profitability and growth, having refocused the franchise on the basics of banking.

"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.

He added that he is leaving the company in better hands. Corbat is the "right person" to tackle the difficult challenges ahead, with a 29-year record of achievement and leadership at this Company, he said.


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