Why is Vikram Pandit suddenly out as Citigroup’s CEO?
It couldn’t possibly have anything to do with job performance, could it? No, if you ask one CNBC anchor, it's because the money was too little and the president's insults too much.
Citi announced Tuesday morning that Pandit stepped down and would be replaced immediately by Michael Corbat. Though publicly Pandit and the bank have both maintained that it was his decision, many news reports have alleged that he was forced out after a clash over strategy.
Maria Bartiromo offered her theory on Pandit’s departure Tuesday, saying that after “agreeing to work for a dollar [during the financial crisis], getting bashed and bashed and bashed again by the President and by the populists, he probably just said to himself ‘look I’m done, they don’t want to pay me commensurate with what some of my colleagues in banking are making? I can’t work for a dollar anymore.’”
There are few small data points that might counter Baritromo’s analysis. Pandit did indeed agree to take home only one dollar per year during the financial crisis, but he made about $261 million during his five-year tenure at Citi, assuming there aren’t any changes made to his compensation, according to Bloomberg.
And while it is true that he clashed with shareholders in April over his $15 million pay package for 2011, the fight came after he had already been paid the money. Why were shareholders so aghast at paying Pandit the $15 million when other big bank CEOs like Jamie Dimon were making more? Maybe it’s because the company’s stock price has fallen about 90 percent since he took over in 2007.
For his part, Pandit is denying that his decision to step down had anything to do with pay or Wall Street bashing, telling Baritromo "it’s just time.”