Thursday, February 22, 2018
Business

In a surprise, Pandit steps down as Citigroup CEO

Vikram Pandit, who steered Citigroup through the 2008 financial crisis and the choppy years that followed, abruptly left the bank Tuesday, stepping down as CEO and as a director.

The move shocked Wall Street, and Citigroup offered no explanation. There had been no hint of the departure Monday, when the bank discussed its strong third-quarter earnings in lengthy calls with analysts and reporters.

A second top executive resigned as part of the shakeup: president and chief operating officer John Havens, who was also CEO of Citi's Institutional Client Group, which serves global companies, banks and governments.

Pandit was replaced immediately by Michael Corbat, 52, a Citigroup lifer who had been CEO of its Europe, Middle East and Africa division. Corbat joined the bank in 1983, just after graduating from Harvard.

The Wall Street Journal reported that the departures followed a clash between Pandit and the company's board over strategy and business performance, including at the group run by Havens.

In a conference call late Tuesday with financial analysts and reporters, Corbat and Citigroup chairman Michael O'Neill remained vague about the sudden change. "What happened is that Vikram submitted his resignation and we accepted it," O'Neill said.

Corbat said the changes do not reflect any desire to change Citigroup's strategic direction.

Analysts suspected there was more to the story. Pandit's departure from the board is a clear indication that "this was a complete and unexpected break" between Pandit, 55, and Citi directors, said Chris Whalen, a bank analyst and senior managing director of Tangent Capital Partners in New York.

"This shows how dysfunctional this organization is, to have this event unfold this way," Whalen said.

If Pandit's disagreements with the board were recent, his trouble with shareholders had been brewing far longer. They rejected his 2011 pay package in a nonbinding vote this spring.

Since joining the bank in December 2007, Pandit has made total compensation of at least $56.4 million, according to data compiled for the Associated Press by Equilar, an executive pay research firm.

Many shareholders were also frustrated by Pandit's failure to boost Citigroup's stock price, which was decimated during the 2008 financial crisis and remains far below where it was when Pandit took over.

Comments
Note to readers: About those annoying popups on your phones

Note to readers: About those annoying popups on your phones

Dear readers, I hope that you are able to see this and that a popup saying you’ve won a gift card hasn’t taken over your phone. We have heard from many of you that these popups are preventing you from reading our news coverage.We hate them as much as...
Updated: 15 minutes ago
Outback Steakhouse owner Bloomin’ Brands beats Wall Street forecasts

Outback Steakhouse owner Bloomin’ Brands beats Wall Street forecasts

TAMPA — Bloomin’ Brands this morning beat Wall Street expectations in reporting fourth-quarter net income of $16.4 million, after reporting a loss in the same period a year earlier.The Tampa-based restaurant chain group — which includes Outback Steak...
Updated: 1 hour ago
This week food fests celebrate collard greens and Jewish foods

This week food fests celebrate collard greens and Jewish foods

FIELD OF GREEN: COLLARD FESTOn Saturday you can devote your whole day to the beauty of collard greens. Well, that’s the jumping off point. Collards are the "central ingredient" at the Tampa Bay Collard Green Festival at St. Petersburg’s Historic Deuc...
Updated: 1 hour ago
CareerSource jobs chief Edward Peachey could soon be out of work

CareerSource jobs chief Edward Peachey could soon be out of work

CLEARWATER — The heads of the Pinellas and Hillsborough jobs boards will hold emergency meetings in the coming days to consider firing president and CEO Edward Peachey. Jack Geller, board chairman of CareerSource Pinellas, and Dick Peck, chair...
Updated: 5 hours ago
Hillsborough commissioners ask CareerSource chief to step down or be fired

Hillsborough commissioners ask CareerSource chief to step down or be fired

TAMPA –– Hillsborough County commissioners voted Wednesday to ask embattled jobs center leader Ed Peachey to either resign or face termination over concerns the agency inflated job placement numbers with the state. Chairwoman Sandy Murman said commis...
Published: 02/21/18
St. Pete's World Liquors sign will live on at new home

St. Pete's World Liquors sign will live on at new home

A local landmark for a half century isn't coming down for good.
Published: 02/21/18
Investor calls for Bloomin’ Brands to let Outback Steakhouse stand alone

Investor calls for Bloomin’ Brands to let Outback Steakhouse stand alone

TAMPA — A second activist investor is calling for a big shake-up at Bloomin’ Brands Inc. In a letter to Bloomin’s CEO, Barington Capital Group, a New York-based investment firm, urged the Tampa-based restaurant conglomerate to let ...
Published: 02/21/18

Uber unrolls new pool service that could drastically cut fare

A new way to Uber is coming to Florida, but the "Express Pool" feature is only rolling out in Miami and seven of other cities to start.That means Tampa Bay will have to wait and see if it will get access to Uber’s latest offering, which links riders ...
Published: 02/21/18
Clearwater Beach named No. 1 in U.S. by TripAdvisor

Clearwater Beach named No. 1 in U.S. by TripAdvisor

A reigning champion for sand and sunshine, Tampa Bay is once again home to what’s been deemed the best beach in the country. Clearwater Beach was named the best beach in the U.S. for 2018 by the popular travel site TripAdvisor reclaiming the crown tw...
Published: 02/21/18
Pasco Business Digest for Feb. 23

Pasco Business Digest for Feb. 23

Business DigestBrieflyCHUY’S RESTAURANT TO OPEN: Chuy’s, the Austin-based Tex-Mex restaurant, will open its first Tampa Bay area location this spring near Cypress Creek Town Center in Wesley Chapel. The restaurant at 25750 Sierra Center Blvd., Lutz, ...
Updated: 4 hours ago