Citigroup CEO Vikram Pandit resigned effective immediately on Tuesday, the third-largest bank said on Tuesday morning.

Pandit has also stepped down from the board of directors. He will be replaced in both roles by longtime Citigroup executive Michael Corbat, who most recently ran the bank's Europe, Middle East and Africa businesses.

Citigroup's board did not give a clear reason for his sudden and surprising departure. The announcement quoted Pandit, who said,  "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."

John Havens, Citigroup's president and chief operating officer, also resigned, according to the announcement. Havens, who also ran Citi's investment bank, has been a longtime friend and business partner to Pandit. The release said he had already been planning to retire at the end of this year but decided, "in light of Mr. Pandit's resignation, to leave the company at this time."

Pandit was named CEO at the end of 2007, as Citigroup started to reveal the extent of the losses it would take on soured mortgages. He led the bank through the financial crisis and its three bailouts, and held onto his job despite regulatory criticism and some reported pressure for him to resign in 2009.

But he also led a slow recovery of the bank's fortunes in the last few years, as Citi repaid its bailout funds and started posting consistent profits. On Monday, Pandit presided over a quarterly earnings call as the bank reported $468 million in third-quarter profits.

 

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