Ray McGuire, Vice Chairman of Citigroup Inc., speaks during a Bloomberg Television interview at the Milken Institute Global Conference in Beverly Hills, California on April 29, 2019.
Patrick T. Fallon | Bloomberg | Getty Images
Ray McGuire, a top Citigroup executive, is leaving the bank and running for New York City Mayor.
McGuire is Citigroup vice chairman and chairman of banking, capital markets and advisory. Since January he has been discussing the candidacy for mayor privately.
"We are at 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 into the city to jump the race.
Citi CEO Michael Corbat and Paco Ybarra, CEO of the bank's institutional client group, announced Thursday that McGuire will be leaving to “explore opportunities that will enable him to pursue his lifelong passion for public service "from CNBC.
McGuire, 63, steps into a crowded Democratic peloton for the mayor's office. Maya Wiley, a former top lawyer for Mayor Bill de Blasio, recently announced her entry into the race. She was previously a legal analyst at MSNBC. De Blasio's term of office ends on the first day of 2022.
McGuire will be surrounded by a source familiar with the campaign, referred to as the "A + Team". Charles Phillips, one of McGuire's closest friends and former CEO of Infor, advised him on running for mayor.
Valerie Jarrett, a longtime close advisor to former President Barack Obama, will co-chair McGuire's campaign, according to someone with direct knowledge of the matter.
Phillips separately told CNBC on Thursday that he would also lead McGuire's campaign as co-chair.
"NYC is facing its greatest economic challenge in decades and we need to be focused and efficient," Phillips told CNBC. "Ray is the right person to run the city and unite it to create something better if we get through this. He took the time to prepare and he's more than ready to overhaul it all."
More are expected to be named co-chairs in the coming weeks, including film director Spike Lee, a source that has been added.
McGuire has spoken out on important issues when it comes to policing and the black community.
Following the death of George Floyd by Minneapolis police officers, McGuire told CNBC that the murder was "cold-blooded murder" and urged corporate executives to take the necessary steps to combat racism.
He recently penned a foreword to a Citi report titled "Bridging the Gaps on Racial Inequality". In the introduction the bank manager reflects on how he is seen as a black man.
"But even today, with all these credentials and as a top Wall Street executive, I'm still being seen as a six foot four, two hundred pound black man first wherever I go – even in my own neighborhood. I would have George Floyd, "he writes.