headshot of Citi executive Jane Fraser Jane Fraser

Citigroup has named Jane Fraser as its next CEO, making her the first woman to lead a large Wall Street bank.

Fraser, 53, will take the reins from current Chief Executive Michael Corbat, 60, in February 2021, when he plans to retire  after leading the bank for the past eight years. 

The incoming CEO has been elected to the bank’s board, after 16 years at the bank. Fraser currently is president and CEO of its Global Consumer Banking unit.

“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,”  Corbat said in a statement.

The move comes more than a year after Congress asked Corbat and other CEOs of major U.S. banks if they expected to be succeeded by female candidates in the future. While none of them said yes, JPMorgan named Marianne Lake and Jennifer Piepszak as possible successors to CEO Jamie Dimon a week after the hearings.

“The glass ceiling in banking maybe is finally cracking,” said CNBC’s Jim Cramer on “Squawk on the Street”  Thursday morning. “This is revolutionary, and we can’t deny it.”

Career at Citi

Before Fraser was tapped to lead the bank’s Global Consumer Banking business, which includes Retail Banking and Wealth Management, she led Citi’s operations in Latin America (2015-2019) and its U.S. Consumer and Commercial Banking and CitiMortgage (2013-2015).

From 2009 to 2013, Fraser served as CEO of Citi’s Private Bank. Prior to that, she was the global head of Strategy and Mergers & Acquisitions (2007-2009). She joined Citi’s Corporate and Investment Banking division in 2004 after working at McKinsey and Goldman Sachs.

“We believe Jane is the right person to build on Mike’s record and take Citi to the next level,” said John C. Dugan, chair of the Citi’s board of directors, in a statement. “She has deep experience across our lines of business and regions and we are highly confident in her.”

Fraser, who is Scottish, has an M.B.A. from Harvard and an M.A. in economics from Cambridge University. She is married with two children.

“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 … ,” she said in a statement.

“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 added. 

Two years ago in an interview with CNN’s Poppy Harlow, the Citi executive said: ”I look forward to seeing a woman being the first CEO of a Wall Street firm, whoever that may be. I’ve never had the ambition to be the CEO of Citi or any other organization. Things can change over time. But at the moment, I’ve still got a lot to learn.”

In the most recent quarter, Citi’s earnings fell 73% from Q2’19 to $1.3 billion; earnings per share dropped 4% to $0.50. The Private Bank’s revenue, though, grew 10% from the year-ago period to $956 million. 

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