Ray McGuire, a vice chairman at Citigroup, said he is leaving the investment bank to run for mayor of New York City in the November 2021 election.
In a memo to employees on Thursday, Citigroup Chief Executive Michael Corbat and the head of its investment bank praised Mr. McGuire as a “torchbearer, trusted and valued colleague and friend.”
“Through his performance, Ray is acknowledged to be among the most respected and admired industry leaders, and has long been a powerful and pathbreaking voice for the industry on diversity and inclusion,” they wrote in the email, a copy of which was viewed by The Wall Street Journal.
Mr. McGuire, 63, is one of the highest-ranking Black executives working on Wall Street. He served as head of global corporate and investment banking at Citigroup, which he joined in 2005, and was most recently a vice chairman of the bank.
Embarking on his first political campaign and running as a Democrat in the party’s primary race, Mr. McGuire said his business acumen would be valuable as New York City faces its largest fiscal crisis since the 1970s.
“This city is a big, complex business that is failing right now,” he said in a statement. “It needs a chief executive who has a vision, who knows how to spark growth, revive the economy, attract the best talent and get this city back to work.”
The coronavirus pandemic and shutdown of the city caused a $9 billion revenue shortfall, along with a gap in next year’s budget of around $4 billion.
Mayor Bill de Blasio, a Democrat, has instituted cost-savings measures across the city and has warned of potentially laying off up to 22,000 city workers if the city doesn’t receive financial help from the federal government, or state authority to borrow money. Mr. de Blasio is prevented from running for reelection due to term limits.
Mr. McGuire joins many other candidates in the Democratic contest, with the primary next year held in June for the first time instead of September. Other candidates include Comptroller Scott Stringer; Brooklyn Borough President Eric Adams; Dianne Morales, who ran an antipoverty nonprofit; Carlos Menchaca, a city councilman from Brooklyn; and Shaun Donovan, the former HUD secretary.
It also includes three former de Blasio administration staffers: Kathryn Garcia, who stepped down from her job as the sanitation commissioner; Maya Wiley, who was a counsel to the mayor; and Loree Sutton, who was the veteran-affairs commissioner.
Like former mayoral candidates from the business world including Michael R. Bloomberg and John Catsimatidis, Mr. McGuire won’t take part in the city’s generous matching-funds program. This program has strict limits on the amount of money an individual can donate to a candidate.
A spokeswoman said Mr. McGuire won’t self-finance his campaign and will fundraise. He didn’t respond to requests seeking comment beyond his statement.
“Ray is just what NYC needs at this moment in time,” said Brad Karp, chairman of the law firm Paul Weiss and a prominent fundraiser for the Democratic Party who went to law school with Mr. McGuire. “He is a brilliant and committed leader and a compassionate and courageous advocate for the most vulnerable among us.”
His track record on Wall Street could hurt him in the Democratic primary, where many candidates have spoken against the financial industry, pushed taxing the wealthy and said they wouldn’t take donations from real-estate companies.
Within Citigroup, many colleagues hoped Mr. McGuire would run. He has long been considered one of the top deal makers on Wall Street, and one of the banking world’s leading Black voices. He worked on some of the biggest deals in history, including helping Time Warner Inc. sell itself to AT&T Inc. for more than $80 billion.
This year, he was the lead adviser to a private-equity group’s unsuccessful attempt to buy railroad Kansas City Southern.
But his campaign also plans to highlight his roots: He was raised by a single mother and his grandparents in Ohio, and later attended a boarding school in Connecticut funded with scholarships and loans. He went on to Harvard University, and later graduated from the school’s law and business schools.
In addition to his work on Wall Street, he serves on the boards of several organizations, including the Council of Urban Professionals and the New York Public Library. He lives in Manhattan with his wife and children. He often rides Citi Bike and still plays basketball in Central Park with his youngest son, Leo, a spokeswoman confirmed.
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Appeared in the October 16, 2020, print edition as ‘Citigroup Executive to Run for Mayor.’