Sanford Weill will step aside as CEO of


(C) - Get Citigroup Inc. Report

three months earlier than planned.

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The financial services giant announced Tuesday that Charles Prince, 53, will become CEO, and Robert Willumstad, 58, will add the title of chief operating offficer to his current title of president, effective Oct. 1.

Weill, 70, will remain chairman until the 2006 shareholders meeting.

"The overwhelming response to Chuck and Bob's prospective appointments since the announcement of our new leadership team in July demonstrates not only that they are the ideal executives to lead Citigroup but that the company is more than ready for the seamless transition to our new leadership team," Weill said. "Moving ahead with the transition will enable the company to benefit from enhanced clarity of the management and reporting. And so, we've decided to complete the succession process now, rather than later in the year."

Said Prince: "Bob and I look forward to a future in which Citigroup, with its energy, capital strength and geographic and product reach, can be an even more dynamic force and build even greater value for shareholders, customers, partners, employees and the communities we serve. We're ready to finalize the transition and move ahead."