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TIAA Names Next CEO

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What You Need to Know

  • Thasunda Brown Duckett, the firm's first female CEO, succeeds Roger W. Ferguson Jr.
  • She previously was head of consumer banking at JPMorgan Chase.
  • The former bank exec began her career at Fannie Mae.

TIAA has picked Thasunda Brown Duckett to become its new president and CEO. She is coming over from JP Morgan Chase, where she is head of consumer banking.

Duckett will succeed Roger Ferguson Jr., who is preparing to retire from his post as head of the New York-based financial services giant.

Ferguson had previously announced plans to retire March 31, but he will stay on as CEO until May 1, when Duckett steps in, according to TIAA.

Duckett has been CEO of Chase Consumer Banking since 2016. She has been in charge of banking operations with about $600 billion in deposits, 4,900 branches and about 40,000 employees.

TIAA was founded in 1918 as a life insurer and annuity provider for educators. The company also has large non-insurance asset management operations, and a total of about $1.3 trillion in assets under management.

Duckett said in a statement that TIAA has paid more than $500 billion in retirement income benefits and other benefits since it was founded.

“I am extraordinarily grateful for the opportunity to lead a company that has helped millions of people retire with ‘enough’ to live in dignity,” Duckett said.

First-Hand Experience With Job Loss

Duckett is the daughter of Otis Brown, a man who started out in Louisiana and lost a house to fires set by the Ku Klux Klan, according to a profile that ran in Fortune magazine in 2018. He ended up living in New Jersey and working as a truck driver for Xerox. When Brown lost his job at Xerox, the family moved to Texas.

“I often think about the day my father asked me to help him plan his retirement, and I had to tell him, ‘Dad, your pension is not enough,’” Duckett said.

Duckett earned a bachelor’s degree in finance and marketing from the University of Houston and a master’s degree in business from Baylor University.

She began her career in financial services as a vice president at Fannie Mae in 1996.

Rising Up at Chase

Duckett moved to JPMorgan Chase to become senior vice president for emerging markets and affordable lending.

From 2008 to 2012, while the Great Recession was leading to waves of foreclosures, she was senior vice president and Northeast regional manager for home lending at Chase.

She then served as a national retail sales executive for mortgage banking at Chase. She became CEO of Chase Auto Finance in 2013.

As a Chase executive, she may have helped manufacture some of the loans that went inside the mortgage-backed securities and asset-backed securities inside TIAA’s investment portfolios.

TIAA notes that Duckett helped manage Chase adoption of consumer banking technology, such as a mobile phone banking apps.

She also was the executive sponsor of JPMorgan Chase’s Advancing Black Pathways program and a member of the steering committee for the bank’s Women on the Move initiative.

TIAA’s CEOs

Duckett will be the first woman to serve as TIAA’s CEO. She will be the company’s third Black CEO.

The company’s first Black CEO, Clifton Wharton Jr., held that post from 1987 to 1993. He left to become U.S. deputy secretary of state.

Ferguson, who took over from Herbert Allison Jr. as CEO in 2008, is also Black.

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