Vikram Pandit Shankar: a lifetime of education, business and success

Vikram Pandit Shankar is an American banker whose family and cultural background are rooted in India.  He was the son to Shankar B. Pandit, the CEO of Sarabhai Chemicals in Baroda for a considerable period of time.  Seeing his father in such a position might have had a great influence on Vikram Pandit’s life regarding his professional expectations.

Vikram Pandit, CEO of Citigroup_History of American Financial Titans_patrick dwyer
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He moved to the United States when he was 16 and decided to go to Columbia University.  He entered into the engineering program, specifically on Electrical Engineering, for his undergraduate Studies which he completed by 1976 in an impressive period of only 3 years. As for his Master’s degree, he continued to focus on the same subject field and would get his degree in 1977.  Amazingly, he didn’t stop there and he continued with his studies by enrolling in an MBA in the field of Finance which he finished in 1980.  However, his pursuit of knowledge and education didn’t stop there, he later on did a PHD on the same field and got his degree in 1986 after publishing an incredible and complex financial puzzle.

After his graduation as a professional from Columbia University, he remained there as a professor in the field of Economy.  Then, a few years later, he traveled to Canada in order to join the team of professors from the University of Brock in St. Catharines.  In 1983, he started to work for the Morgan Stanley Company –focused on electronic trading- as one of the first Indians to be an associate.  In this Company he spent over 20 years of his life.  His career was successful; he was elected Director 7 years after his beginning and, by 1994, he was already the General Director of the organization.  2005 was an especial year in which Vikram Pandit Shankar decided to retire from this company, after achieving the position as a President and Executive Director.  

It is also important to mention that, from 2000 to 2003, he was part of NASDAQ OMX, the Investment Fund of the City of New York.  Additionally, in 2008, he was honored with the Padma Bhushan award, which is granted in the Republic of India to civilians who have performed a distinguished service to the Nation regardless the field of action.

Citigroup Tower_Vikram Pandit Shankar_patrcik dwyer_History of American Financial Titans
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In 2006, he makes a strategic alliance with two important men: John Havens, a former executive from Morgan Stanley Company, and Guru Ramakrishnan, a former Chief of global trade, technology and new products of the same company.  The three of them started an investment fund that pooled capital from some accredited investors in order to work with a variety of assets, which they called, the Old Lane LLC.  The Citigroup purchased this company in 2007 for the impressive amount of $ 800 million and Vikram Pandit Shankar was positioned as the CEO of the Company.  For many people who have worked with Vikram Pandit this was a great decision since they ensure he reunited the most important aspects to achieve success: the combination of his deep executive experience and his long history as a strategic thinker.  Fortunately, he shown to satisfactorily occupy his position, which is -as several analysts have stated- one of the most challenging in the banking history.

No wonder why he was chosen as the ‘Banker of the Year’ by the ‘Euromoney’ magazine as a recognition to his leadership in the transformation of Citigroup which made the company worthy of earning twelve awards in the nineteenth edition of the Excellence Awards organized by the same magazine.  One of the most important recognitions obtained by the Group was Best Global Bank in terms of transactions.

His achievements in this company were of great impact given that at the beginning there were doubts on how suitable he was to take the challenge of leading such a company. However, his hard work and devotion –shown by a few banking directors- had proved he was the most valuable asset of the company at that time of change.  There is no doubt now that his nature as a leader inspired the 263,000 collaborators to his service to commit in this endeavor.  That is why, his unexpected resignation to his position was so surprising in 2012.  So far this had been his main position in a Company.  Two years later, the news spread about Mr. Shankar becoming the new CEO of TGG Group.

Currently, Vikram Pandit Shankar is a member to the Board of Directors of the Trinity School, the University of Columbia as well as Columbia Business School, and the Indian School of Business.  As for his personal life, he is a citizen of United States and he currently lives in the Upper West Side of Manhattan, New York with his family; Swati, his wife and Maya and Rahul, their children.


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