The move by Corbat, 60, finalizes a management overhaul that had been underway at the third-largest U.S. bank by assets. Last year, Jamie Forese, Citigroup’s president at the time, announced he was stepping down after three decades at the bank, which followed the departures of the bank’s longtime chief financial officer and a pair of regional heads.
Fraser’s ascension at Citigroup answers a question many have had for years: When would the U.S. banking industry, dominated by men in leadership positions for decades, get its first female big bank CEO?
The CEO position at top U.S. banks rarely opens up, and when they do, they often go to insiders, who historically have been men. Last year, when Wells Fargo was engaging in a public search for a new CEO, observers speculated that the bank could become the first led by a woman – Fraser was apparently considered for that role – but it went to Charlie Scharf, a former acolyte of JPMorgan Chase CEO Jamie Dimon.
Fraser was a McKinsey partner when she joined Citigroup in 2004 in the firm’s Wall Street division. She quickly rose through the ranks, going from head of strategy and acquisitions to CEO of the firm’s private bank, then leading the firm’s sprawling Latin American operations before rising to head of global consumer banking. Last October, she was promoted to president, reportedly to keep her from being poached to lead other banks.
“I have worked with Jane for many years and am proud to have her succeed me,” Corbat said in a statement. “With her leadership, experience and values, I know she will make an outstanding CEO.”
The bank said it will name a new global consumer banking head in coming weeks.
Here is the bank’s statement:
Jane Fraser, chief executive officer for Latin American at Citigroup Inc., speaks during the Milken Institute Global Conference in Beverly Hills, California, U.S., on Monday, April 29, 2019.
Kyle Grillot | Bloomberg via Getty Images