The shock news today: Vikram Pandit has steped down as CEO of Citi.The new CEO? Michael Corbat, who had been the head of the company’s Europe, MIddle East, Africa business.
He was widely seen as a contender for the job post-Pandit, although this comes as a bit of a surprise, in terms of timing.
A lead contender is Mike Corbat, the head of Citigroup’s operations in Europe, the Middle East and Africa, according to people close to the company. These people said that other executives who have won high marks from the board include Jamie Forese, the chief executive of securities and banking; and Jane Fraser, who runs Citigroup’s private bank. They cautioned, however, that the list of executives under consideration is likely longer.
The most interesting story is this 1982 profile of him in the Harvard Crimson, when he was a football player.
The ladies who serve and prepare the food at Currier House all have crushes on senior Mike Corbat.
The woman who checks off the names–the one sitting at the desk–smiles and winks at him. Then the greyish, plump one who serves the french onion dip giggles, when Corbat quips something that’s not-so-funny. And during lunch, a man who also works in the dining room–he’s the aged guy, with a slightly arched back who stands around in his red coat–comes over to Corbat and gives him some present all wrapped up in tinfoil. The guy in the red coat paternally pats him on the shoulder and walks away.
“I just give them tickets to some of the games,” he explains.
You see, Mike Corbat is a 6-ft, 3-m, 230 pound dear.
“He was always outgoing and good natured as a child,” Corbat’s mother. Mrs. Deanne Corbat, said of her son. “He was always doing something. He never watched television.”
Whatever the case. Corbat–an all-Ivy offensive guard on the Harvard football team–may be a dear to the people who work in the dining hall, but he certainly isn’t dear to his opponents. People who are dears on the field don’t get contacted by at least a half-dozen teams informing him of the possibilities of his playing in the National Football League.
“They [NFL scouts] feel that if I put on a good 20 to 25 pounds, then I’d stand a good shot at playing,” Corbat said. “Right now, playing in the NFL, would only be the icing on the cake. If football had always been my main goal then I would have gone to some scholarship school I could have gotten more exposure there.”
And here’s his official company profile.
Michael L. Corbat is CEO of Europe, Middle East and Africa where he oversees all of Citi’s business operations in the region, including corporate and investment banking, securities and trading, private banking, transaction services and consumer banking.
Mr. Corbat most recently served as the CEO of Citi Holdings, Citi’s portfolio of non-core businesses and assets. During his tenure running Citi Holdings, Mr. Corbat oversaw the divestiture of more than 40 businesses, including the IPO and sale of Citi’s remaining stake in Primerica. Mr. Corbat also successfully restructured Citi’s consumer finance and retail partner cards businesses and divested more than $500 billion assets, reducing risk on Citi’s balance sheet and freeing up capital to invest in Citi’s core banking business.
Prior to his appointment to lead Citi Holdings, Mr. Corbat was the CEO of Citi’s Global Wealth Management unit, which comprised Smith Barney and the Citi Private Bank. Prior to this, he was a Managing Director and Head of the Global Corporate Bank and Global Commercial Bank at Citi, a role in which he led the firm’s efforts to provide best-in-class financial services to top-tier multi-national corporations and financial institutions around the world.
Previously, Mr. Corbat was Head of Global Emerging Markets in Markets and Banking, responsible for the origination, trading and sales of emerging markets fixed income debt. He joined Salomon Brothers, a Citi legacy firm, in 1983 in the Fixed Income Sales Department in Atlanta and has worked in New York City and London.
In his various advisory and structuring roles, Mr. Corbat has successfully guided retail and institutional clients across the spectrum of financial services and significant challenges, from the bankruptcy of Orange County, California, to sovereign debt restructurings in Latin America and business restructurings in North America and Europe.
He currently serves on the Board of Directors of EMI, The U.S. Ski and Snowboard Team Foundation and the BritishAmerican Business, Inc.
Born in Bristol, Connecticut, Mr. Corbat earned a bachelor’s in economics from Harvard University in 1983.