Sanford I. Weill announced today he is stepping down as CEO of Citigroup, New York.

Charles O. Prince, 53, has been named the companys new CEO. Robert B. Willumstad, 57, currently president, will become chief operating officer by January 1, 2004.

Both were elected to the Citigroup Board of Directors yesterday.

Weill has been chairman and chief executive officer of Citigroup since its inception in October 8, 1998, through the merger of Citicorp and Travelers Group.

Weill, who had been chairman of Travelers Group, became chairman of its predecessor company, Commercial Credit, in 1986. In that role he led the company through a public stock offering by its then-parent.

Commercial Credit acquired Primerica Corporation in 1988 and adopted its name until 1993, when the company acquired The Travelers Corporation and adopted the Travelers Group name, Citigroup says. That same year, the company also acquired the retail brokerage and asset management business of Shearson Loeb Rhodes from American Express Corporation.

Weill had been chief executive officer of Shearson Loeb Rhodes when it was acquired by American Express in 1981, Citigroup says.

In 1997, the company acquired Salomon Inc. and combined it with its Smith Barney unit to form the global securities and investment firm Salomon Smith Barney.

Before 1986, Weill had been president of American Express Company and chairman and chief executive of its Firemans Fund Insurance Company subsidiary.

Weill, 70, will remain chairman of the board until the 2006 Annual Meeting of Citigroup shareholders, focusing on the companys relationships with customers and government officials and providing input on strategic issues, Citigroup says.

The company, which employs 260,000 people and sells global financial services in more than 100 countries, has had its share of difficult times in the recent past, including allegations of conflicts of interest in investment banking and mishandling of initial stock offerings.

Weill referred to unnamed challenges in a prepared statement.

“Weve dealt with painful issues and have demonstrated our commitment to being a best practice leader in every business,” he said.

“I feel I still have a great deal to contribute, but will be doing so in a different way.”

Willumstads role will be expanded to include direct responsibility for the consumer business, as well as Salomon Smith Barney, led by Sallie L. Krawcheck; the Global Investment Management business, led by Thomas W. Jones; Citigroup International, led by Sir Deryck C. Maughan; and Citigroup Global Investments, led by Michael A. Carpenter.

The global corporate and investment bank will continue to report directly to Prince, the company says.


Reproduced from National Underwriter Life & Health/Financial Services Edition, July 21, 2003. Copyright 2003 by The National Underwriter Company in the serial publication. All rights reserved.Copyright in this article as an independent work may be held by the author.