Citigroup becomes first big Wall Street bank to be run by female CEO

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Scottish-American banker Jane Fraser will replace Michael Corbat in February

Citigroup has appointed the Scottish-American banker Jane Fraser as its next chief executive, the first time a big Wall Street bank will be led by a woman.

Fraser, who has worked for the lender for 16 years, will take over from Michael Corbat in February.

Fraser was born in Scotland and studied economics at Cambridge University and Harvard Business School before starting her banking career at Goldman Sachs in London. Since then she has worked in roles across the world for a range of companies.

Citigroup is one of the world’s biggest banks, with assets worth more than $2.2tn (£1.7tn) on its balance sheet at the end of June.

The promotion will make Fraser one of the most prominent women in US business. Only 38 of the Fortune 500, which tracks the US’s biggest listed companies, had female chief executives at the start of August, according to CNN.

Fraser will also be one of the few women at the top of the global banking industry. In the UK, NatWest Group – formerly known as Royal Bank of Scotland – appointed Alison Rose as its chief executive in September 2019, while in the public sector Christine Lagarde was made head of the European Central Bank in July 2019.

Fraser was appointed as president of Citi last year when she took control of its global consumer banking division. Before that she had senior leadership roles for the bank in Latin America and in its US mortgages and mergers and acquisitions divisions. Prior to Citi, Fraser worked at the management consultancy McKinsey.

Corbat will retire after eight years as chief executive and 37 years at the US bank. He took over in the aftermath of the global financial crisis, when Citi received a $45bn government bailout, one of the biggest given to any bank.

Since Corbat took over the bank’s share price has increased by more than 40%, although it has struggled to make up ground lost to rivals.

Fraser’s first job will be to guide Citi through the extended period of economic weakness expected by many economists as the US and other major markets struggle to recover from the coronavirus pandemic. In July, the bank reported that net income in the second quarter of 2020 fell by 73% on the same three months last year as the bank set aside billions of dollar to cover bad loans.

Fraser said: “I am honoured by the board’s decision and grateful to Mike for his leadership and support. 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.”

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