Citigroup (C) announced Vikram Pandit is stepping down as CEO and board member, effective immediately.

The board has elected Michael Corbat to serve as the next CEO and director of the board. Corbat previously served the company as CEO of Europe, the Middle East and Africa.

"We respect Vikram’s decision," said Michael O'Neill, chairman of the Citigroup board. "Since his appointment at the start of the financial crisis until the present time, Vikram has restructured and recapitalized the company, strengthened our global franchise and re-focused the business. The board and I are grateful to Vikram for his leadership, integrity and resilience in guiding Citi through the crisis and positioning it well for the future. We wish him all the best with the next stage in his career."

The company's COO John Havens also resigned from the firm. Havens said he was planning to retire at the end of the year, but with Mr. Pandit resigning, he decided to leave earlier.

The big bank saw its third-quarter profit plummet to $468 million, or 15 cents a share, from $3.8 billion, or $1.23 a share, a year earlier. Retail banking revenues grew 35% to $1.7 billion from the third quarter 2011, primarily reflecting higher mortgage revenues.

Citi also offloaded $750 million in delinquent loans in the third quarter alone, as part of a larger effort to reduce exposures associated with its mortgage portfolio and further efforts to bring similar operations in-house.

Corbat appears well-suited for the job. In the past, he managed numerous institutional businesses, including sales and trading, capital markets, corporate and commercial banking, and such consumer businesses as wealth management, mortgages and credit cards.

kpanchuk@housingwire.com