Politics

Ray McGuire to leave Citigroup to run for mayor of New York

Key Points
  • Ray McGuire, a top executive at Citigroup, is set to leave the bank and run for mayor of New York.
  • Valerie Jarrett, a longtime close advisor to former President Barack Obama, will act as co-chair of McGuire's campaign, according to a person with direct knowledge of the matter.
  • Charles Phillips, former CEO of Infor, will also co-chair McGuire's campaign.
Ray McGuire, vice chairman of Citigroup Inc., speaks during a Bloomberg Television interview at the Milken Institute Global Conference in Beverly Hills, California, April 29, 2019.
Patrick T. Fallon | Bloomberg | Getty Images

Ray McGuire, a top executive at Citigroup, is set to leave the bank and run for mayor of New York.

McGuire is a vice chairman of Citigroup and chairman of banking, capital markets and advisory. He has been privately discussing running for mayor since January.

"We're in a war for the survival of this great city. Without a doubt we can do this. From the streets to the suites," McGuire told CNBC, confirming his plans to announce his departure from the bank on Thursday and jump into the race.

VIDEO4:2704:27
The NYT's Jim Stewart on the challenges Raymond McGuire faces running for NYC mayor

Citi's CEO, Michael Corbat, and Paco Ybarra, CEO of the bank's institutional clients group, informed employees on Thursday that McGuire will be departing to "explore opportunities that will allow him to pursue his lifelong passion for public service," according to a memo obtained by CNBC.

McGuire, 63, is getting into a crowded Democratic primary field for the mayor's office. Maya Wiley, a former top attorney for Mayor Bill de Blasio, recently announced her entrance into the race. She was previously a legal analyst for MSNBC. De Blasio's term ends on the first day of 2022.

McGuire will be surrounded by what a source familiar with the campaign called an "A+ team." Charles Phillips, one of McGuire's closest friends and the former CEO of Infor, has been advising him on running for mayor.

Valerie Jarrett, a longtime close advisor to former President Barack Obama, will act as co-chair of McGuire's campaign, according to a person with direct knowledge of the matter.

Phillips separately told CNBC on Thursday that he will also co-chair McGuire's campaign.

"NYC faces its largest economic challenge in decades and we need to execute with purpose and efficiency," Phillips told CNBC. "Ray is the right person to lead and unify the city to create something better when we get through this. He took the time to prepare and he's more than ready to outwork everyone."

There are others expected to be named as co-chairs in the coming weeks, including film director Spike Lee, a source added.

McGuire has been vocal on key issues when it comes to policing and the Black community. 

After the death of George Floyd at the hands of Minneapolis police officers, McGuire told CNBC that the killing was "cold-blooded murder" and called on corporate leaders to take the necessary steps to combat racism.

He recently authored a preface to a Citi report titled "Closing the Racial Inequality Gaps." In the introduction, the banking executive reflects on how he's seen as a Black man. 

"Yet even today, with all those credentials and as one of the leading executives on Wall Street, I am still seen first as a six-foot-four, two-hundred-pound Black man wherever I go — even in my own neighborhood. I could have been George Floyd," he writes. 

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Citigroup's Ray McGuire: 'Education was our ticket'