U.S. may remove Citi's Pandit: report

Citi Chief Executive Vikram Pandit walks out the gate of the White House after a meeting about the economy with U.S. President Barack Obama in the State Dining Room in Washington, March 27, 2009. REUTERS/Kevin Lamarque

(Reuters) - U.S. regulators who are concluding “stress tests” on banks may remove Citigroup Inc chief executive Vikram Pandit, the New York Post reported, citing sources it did not identify further.

The regulators may have to take such a step to show the government is taking as strong a stand on banks as it did with General Motors Corp when it removed Rick Wagoner, the paper said.

Citigroup finance director Ned Kelly told the paper in an interview: “Replacing (Pandit) would be dramatically destabilizing both for Citi and the system.”

“Our recent quarterly results reveal the underlying strength of the franchise and Vikram Pandit’s strategy at work to restore Citi to profitability,” a Citigroup spokeswoman told the paper.

A Citigroup spokesman in Hong Kong declined to comment on the report.

U.S. Treasury Secretary Timothy Geithner’s visit to Citigroup’s offices a week and a half ago was simply to conduct a check-up on the bank, the paper said, citing people familiar with the meeting.

Reporting by Ajay Kamalakaran in Bangalore; Editing by Dan Lalor