By Mark McSherry
Citigroup will be the first major Wall Street bank to have a female chief executive after it announced on Thursday that Mike Corbat will step down as CEO next February and be succeeded by Scottish-born Jane Fraser.
Fraser, from St Andrews, is currently Citi’s President and CEO of global consumer banking.
Fraser, 53, has been at Citi for 16 years and has been in her current roles since 2019.
The appointed was welcomed by other leading women in finance.
Bank of America chief operations and technology officer Cathy Bessant tweeted: “Congratulations to Citi for naming Jane Fraser as its next CEO! Great news for the company and for women everywhere! A big and fantastic moment.”
New York Stock Exchange president Stacey Cunningham tweeted: “Excited to see Jane Fraser named the next CEO of Citi. She brings tremendous talent, skills and experience to the job.”
Citi chairman John Dugan said: “We believe Jane is the right person to build on Mike’s record and take Citi to the next level.
“She has deep experience across our lines of business and regions and we are highly confident in her.
“Jane’s ability to think strategically and also operate a business are a unique combination that will serve our company well.”
Fraser said: “I am honored by the board’s decision and grateful to Mike for his leadership and support.
“The way our team has come together during this pandemic shows what Citi is made of.
“Our balance sheet is strong and our commitment to serving our clients and communities is even stronger.
“I will do everything I can to make all of our stakeholders proud of our firm as we continue to build a better bank and improve our returns.
“We will invest in our infrastructure, risk management and controls to ensure that we operate in a safe and sound manner and serve our clients and customers with excellence.
“Citi is an incredible institution with a proud history and a bright future. I am excited to join with my colleagues in writing the next chapter.”
Fraser was previously CEO of Citi’s Latin American business from 2015 to 2019.
From 2013 to 2015, she was the CEO of Citi’s US Consumer and Commercial Banking and CitiMortgage.
From 2009 to 2013, Fraser was CEO of Citi’s Private Bank.
Prior to that, Fraser was the Global Head of Strategy and Mergers & Acquisitions for Citi from 2007 to 2009.
She joined Citi in 2004 in the Corporate and Investment Banking division.
Before joining Citi, Fraser was a partner at McKinsey & Company.
She started her career at Goldman Sachs in the Mergers & Acquisitions department in London and then worked for Asesores Bursátiles in Madrid, Spain.
Fraser is a member of the Board of Dean’s Advisors at Harvard Business School, serves on Stanford University’s Global Advisory Council and is a member of the Council on Foreign Relations.
Fraser has an M.B.A. from Harvard Business School and an M.A. in economics from Cambridge University.
She is married with two children.
Wells Fargo banking analyst Mike Mayo wrote in a note to investors on Thursday: “She is an unknown entity to the street.
“For that reason, it is unclear whether she has what it takes to lead such a firm, and whether Citi should have looked externally.”
Mayo later added in an interview that Fraser “has a very impressive résumé, and Citigroup recognized that …
“She has gotten this role because of her merits and not merely because she is a woman.”
Corbat said: “I am extremely proud of what we have accomplished in the past eight years.
“We completed our transformation from the financial crisis and emerged a simpler, safer and stronger institution.
“Across our businesses, we made investments in products where we saw opportunities for growth, and Citi has regained its place as a leader in banking.
“We doubled down on our global network, making it indispensable for our clients and gained significant share across our markets and banking franchises.
“In consumer banking, we rationalized our footprint and embraced the push to digital, making it a centerpiece of our branch-lite footprint and we now deliver best-in-class products and experiences to our customers.
“Our financial performance improved steadily and significantly during the eight years before COVID, as we kept our commitment to increase our return on and of capital to our shareholders.
“From 2012 to 2019, Citi’s net income increased from $7 billion to nearly $20 billion, and our Return on Tangible Common Equity increased from 5% to over 12%, closing the gap with our peers.
“We went from returning hardly any capital to returning nearly $80 billion in capital to our shareholders over the last six years.
“Through it all, we showed the character of our people and our firm as we took leadership roles in the fight against climate change and for gender equity.
“Citi’s performance through COVID-19 has shown our strength and resilience, and I am confident Citi will continue to be a valuable partner to our clients and customers.
“Of course, there is always more to do, and I believe the time is right for my successor to lead Citi through this next stage of progress.
“We know there are products where we can still gain share; we know that the expectations of our customers and clients keep increasing and we have to work harder to keep up.
“And as the world’s most global bank, safety and soundness always have to be a foundation of our institution.
“We have launched significant investments in our infrastructure as part of our push to make strengthening our risk and control environment a strategic priority for the firm.
“I have worked with Jane for many years and am proud to have her succeed me.
“With her leadership, experience and values, I know she will make an outstanding CEO.”