Citi Breaks The Glass Ceiling

JPMorgan Chase and Bank of America may also have women CEOs soon.

Jane Fraser will become the first woman to run a major US financial institution when Michael Corbat retires as Citigroup’s CEO in February. The 53-year-old Scottish banker, who has been at Citi for 16 years, finally broke one of the toughest glass ceilings in the corporate world.

Fallout from the post-2008 recession, the #MeToo movement and succeeding calls for a more diversified might have played a role in propelling a woman to the number one position. And now that Jane Fraser has grabbed the grail, Wall Street insiders ask, who’s next? Since pioneer Muriel Siebert dared to buy her seat on the New York Stock Exchange in the 1960s, the pool of female CEO prospects has grown.

When Jamie Dimon steps down as CEO of JPMorgan Chase in a few years, insiders expect two women to be front-runners to succeed him: Marianne Lake and Jennifer Piepszak.

Lake, 50, is the head of the bank’s powerful consumer lending division; Piepszak, also in her 50s, replaced Lake as CFO. A 25-year veteran of JPMorgan Chase, Piepszak once led its credit card division. Both executives know the institution inside and out.

Bank of America, too, has a top female executive who appears ready to lead. Cathy Bessant, its chief operations and technology officer, was once a contender to run BofA’s arch competitor, Wells Fargo. She lost out to Charles Scharf but is now seen as a possible replacement for her boss at BofA, Brian Moynihan, when he retires. Since joining the bank in 1982, she has turned around troubled businesses and rebounded after a demotion. She is a cancer survivor, to boot.

Bessant will have competition, however. The pool of aspirants for Moynihan’s job is said to include Ruth Porat, CFO of Google parent company Alphabet and formerly Morgan Stanley’s CFO. On paper, she has left the financial industry, but close observers say she could reemerge for the right role. Women are no longer competing only against men for the top jobs, it seems.