Citi names Jane Fraser as first female CEO of big Wall St bank

Citigroup Inc on Thursday named consumer banking head Jane Fraser to succeed Michael Corbat next year as the bank’s chief executive officer, making her the first woman to lead a major Wall Street bank.

Fraser, 53, has been a rising star in the financial industry, with a career spanning investment banking, wealth management, troubled mortgage workouts and strategy in Latin America – a key business for Citigroup.

Her promotion to CEO was widely expected since being elevated to Citigroup president last year, and was celebrated as a step in the right direction for an industry that has few women or diverse executives in its top ranks.

“Great news for the company and for women everywhere!” tweeted Bank of America Corp operations and technology chief Cathy Bessant. “A big and fantastic moment.”

Citigroup shares were up 1 percent in morning trade.

Indeed, Fraser joins a small group of women who have broken through the glass ceiling to reach the C-suite at major financial firms.

In addition to Bessant, there is Fidelity Investments CEO Abigail Johnson, JPMorgan’s consumer lending head Marianne Lake and its finance chief Jennifer Piepszak, and Alison Rose, CEO of British bank NatWest.

Fraser launched her career at Goldman Sachs in its mergers and acquisitions department in London and then worked for Asesores Bursatiles in Madrid. She joined Citigroup 16 years ago and is credited internally with helping the bank recover after the financial crisis, when it had to take $45bn in taxpayer funds to survive.

Through the years, she has run client strategy in Citi‘s investment bank, as well as its private bank, its mortgage business and its operations in Latin America, which accounted for 14 percent of annual revenue at the end of 2019.

Her name was floated last year as a potential CEO candidate at Wells Fargo & Co before the board settled on former JPMorgan executive Charles Scharf.

In October, Fraser was promoted to the role of president and tasked to head its global consumer bank, a move that was seen as a precursor to her elevation.

Credit Suisse analyst Susan Roth Katzke said the promotion came sooner than expected, and that investors are eager to get an audience with her.

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