Citigroup

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confirmed Tuesday that its chairman, Sanford Weill, will retire from his post at the annual shareholder meeting on April 18. Chief Executive Charles Prince will take his place.

The anticipated move was first disclosed in July 2003, following a high-profile succession drama for CEO. At the time, Weill elevated Prince, previously chairman and CEO of Citigroup's investment bank, as his successor for the chief executive role. Weill said that he would remain chairman until 2006.

Following Weill's retirement, he will have the title of chairman emeritus at the firm.

"Sandy has played a critical role in creating Citigroup, which has become the model of the modern, global financial services company, and has generated superior value for the company's stakeholders," said Alain Belda, Citigroup's lead director. "We are pleased to name him as our Chairman Emeritus to acknowledge his many accomplishments."

Weill started on Wall Street in the 1950s as a $35-a-week runner for Bear Stearns. Throughout his career, he has held posts at Shearson Lehman,

American Express

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, Control Data, Primerica, Travelers Insurance, Salomon Brothers and finally Citigroup, with which Travelers merged in 1998. Weill and Prince have been colleagues for nearly two decades.

The board unanimously elected Prince to take the additional role as chairman, along with his current position as CEO.

"During his time in that role, Chuck has sharpened Citigroup's strategic focus; created a growth strategy that capitalizes on the company's unique strengths," said Belda. "We believe he will be a strong and effective Chairman of our Board."