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Citi Citi Bye Bye

If you are a big businessman and suffer a setback — you can explain it yourself or let others define you.

Wall Street and the city that never sleeps woke up this morning to the surprising news that Vikram Pandit, the  CEO of Citigroup, was stepping down effective immediately.

It wasn’t long before  conflicting reports starting to come out to explain why Pandit was leaving the Citi. 

TV Newser reports that CNBC’s Jim Cramer said very high level sources told him Pandit was “forced out last night.  Board didn’t want him anymore.”

But a couple hours later Maria Bartiromo on the same network said she had just had a conversation with Pandit himself who claimed his departure was “his decision.”  The “Money Honey” went on to report that Pandit “…said it was time after five years of accomplishing what he set out to do. He said he’s been thing about this for some time,” adding that “the board was always ready for this eventuality.”

If that is the best Pandit can come up with – he should be fired. When you fully accomplish all your goals at a corporation like Citigroup you step down with fanfare, banquets, and awards.  You don’t clean out your desk overnight saying the board was always prepared for such a move.

No doubt Citi insiders will start leaking more details of why the board was bearish on Pandit.  He would have been better advised to start now with an explanation that starts to tell his side of the story — rather than waiting for it to dribble out. His claim that he walked the plank at his own initiative will become increasingly unbelievable.

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