Goldman, BBVA, Regions: The biggest leadership changes of 2018

The past year was one of upheaval on many fronts, and that included leadership shake-ups at major financial institutions.

Some appointments were meant to bring calm to a troubled company. Deutsche Bank and Social Finance hoped to put negative headlines behind them under new leadership. Wells Fargo, however, continued to see executive exits as a result of its phony-accounts scandal.

One bank took openings in its C-suite to set a benchmark for change. At SunTrust Banks in Atlanta, four of the nine members of its executive council are women.

There were surprises, too: A high-profile Bank of America executive, Michelle Moore, announced she would step down to spend more time with her family.

A number of lenders, including Goldman Sachs, enacted succession plans, while others reshuffled key positions in a short span.

Following is a look at the industry's biggest leadership changes of 2018.

David Solomon
Goldman Sachs steps into a post-Blankfein era
After months of speculation, one of Wall Street's most powerful banks announced in July that David Solomon would succeed Lloyd Blankfein as CEO.

Under Solomon's tenure, the bank has already made several key appointments.

In July, Goldman's chief strategy officer, Stephanie Cohen, was appointed to Goldman’s management committee, making her the youngest executive in the 33-person group and one of only seven women.

Richard Gnodde, head of Europe, Middle East and Africa, was given responsibility for Goldman's business outside North America. Tim O'Neill, head of investment management, picked up the additional title of vice chairman.

Carey Halio, an 18-year veteran of the New York company, was named CEO of its lending and deposit-taking division in September.

Also, John Waldron, an investment banking executive, was named president and chief operating officer. Stephen Scherr, the current president of the banking unit, was named chief financial officer.
Michelle Moore, Bank of America’s head of digital.
BoA's star banker Michelle Moore steps down
In a surprise move, Bank of America's well-known digital banking chief Michelle Moore announced in November she would step down from the job at the end of 2018.

Moore oversaw one of the most ambitious products that BofA has developed in recent years: Erica, an artificial-intelligence-powered digital voice assistant for transactions.

Moore made the decision to step down to spend more time with her family, she said.

"I'm very proud of what we've accomplished as a team to bring an industry-leading digital experience to our clients, and I'm now looking forward to spending more time with on what I hope to be my greatest accomplishment, my boys and my family," she said in a statement provided to American Banker.

David Tyrie, the company's consumer products leader, took over the role.

With the official title as head of advanced solutions and digital banking, Tyrie brings an emphasis on greater synergy between digital operations and consumer products, while maintaining financial discipline.
Christian Sewing, right, and John Cryan of Deutsche Bank, in February of 2017.
Troubled Deutsche Bank picks a new CEO
Deutsche Bank ended 2018 with its shares at a historic low, summing up the bad year it had.

It has wrestled with a divided board, public acrimony among leadership and billions paid out for regulatory missteps. Now it is facing questions about its ties to President Trump and a European Union probe into its alleged involvement in a bond cartel.

The lender did try to resolve some of its issues in 2018 by starting with change at the top. In April, Christian Sewing was named the German bank's CEO (pictured right, with former CEO John Cryan during a Deutsche Bank earnings conference in February of 2017).

Though other candidates were considered for the role, including JPMorgan Chase's Matt Zames and Bank of America's Christian Meissner, the lender's board ultimately settled on the veteran insider.
Javier Rodriguez Soler
BBVA's leadership swaps
BBVA Group announced in late December that it had appointed Javier Rodriguez Soler as the new CEO of BBVA Compass and U.S. country manager for BBVA.

Rodriguez Soler will succeed Onur Genç, who was named BBVA's Global CEO in November. The appointment was to take effect at the start of the year, once the relevant authorizations were obtained.

The future U.S. head is currently BBVA Group’s global head of strategy and M&A. He joined the bank in 2008 as a managing director for Corporate & Investment Banking.

Genç will succeed Carlos Torres Vila, who in September was pegged to take over as BBVA chairman.
Wells Fargo branch
The exits continue at Wells Fargo
For Wells Fargo, 2018 brought more bad news and high-profile departures.

In October, the company’s chief administrative officer and its chief auditor went on leaves of absence — and were removed from the company’s operating committee — as a result of fallout from the bank’s phony-accounts scandal.

Hope Hardison has been the San Francisco company’s chief administrative officer since 2015. David Julian was named chief auditor back in 2012. The bank instituted several executive appointments to pick up their responsibilities.

Also in October, another top executive who was embroiled in the fake-accounts scandal announced her departure.

Lisa Stevens, head of regional banking for the Western division, left the bank after working there for 29 years. “I have spent my career at Wells Fargo, and it’s been a rewarding journey,” Stevens said in a news release.

In August, one of the bank’s top risk management executives announced he was leaving, just months after Wells was served with a $1 billion penalty from the Federal Reserve. According to The Wall Street Journal, Chief Operational Risk Officer Mark D’Arcy left to “pursue opportunities outside of the company.”

Even Wells CEO Tim Sloan had to publicly state he was willing to stay in his role for the next seven years after reports circulated that the bank’s board was looking to replace him.

Other Wells Fargo executives who have departed the company in the wake of the unauthorized-account scandal include: former CEO John Stumpf; Carrie Tolstedt, its former head of community banking; Shelley Freeman, former Los Angeles regional president; John Sotoodeh, who succeeded Freeman in L.A.; Claudia Russ Anderson, former community bank chief risk officer; Pamela Conboy, former Arizona lead regional president; Matthew Raphaelson, head of community bank strategy and initiatives; and Tracy Kidd, former head of community bank human relations.

Wells’ rank-and-file employees have also borne the burden of the scandal. The bank said in September that it expected its employee headcount to decline by approximately 5% to 10% within the next three years. The bank has roughly 265,000 employees, so the planned reductions could result in the elimination of up to 26,500 jobs.
John M. Turner Jr., CEO in waiting of Regions Financial in Birmingham, Ala.
Regions travels a new path
Regions Financial in Birmingham, Ala., took a number of steps to restructure its leadership in 2018.

In April, John Turner, the company's president, was named successor to Grayson Hall as CEO, taking over the role in July.

Turner, 56, joined Regions in 2011 as regional president of the bank’s South region, leading banking operations in Alabama, Mississippi, south Louisiana and the Florida Panhandle. He was named head of its corporate bank in 2014 and president in December 2017.

Then in December, the board elected its lead independent director Charles McCrary to succeed Hall as chairman, separating the roles of chairman and chief executive for the first time in five years.

McCrary, 67, has been on the boards of Regions and a predecessor bank, AmSouth Bancorp., since 2001. He was named lead independent director in 2013. McCrary was CEO of Alabama Power from 2001 to 2014.

Under Turner, there have been several executive promotions.

Kate Danella was named head of strategic planning and corporate development. Leslie Carter-Prall succeeded Danella’s previous role of head of private wealth management. Other executive moves Turner initiated included promoting a regional president to head its new office of community affairs and hiring a former General Electric executive to oversee diversity and inclusion.
Women reshape SunTrust's C-suite
SunTrust set itself apart from other banks in 2018 by naming a number of women to top executive posts.

In January 2018, SunTrust named Ellen Fitzsimmons (pictured, left) as general counsel, succeeding Raymond Fortin.

The following month, it promoted Allison Dukes (center), previously its head of commercial banking, to chief financial officer, succeeding Aleem Gillani.

More recently, in November, the bank said that consumer banking executive Ellen Koebler (right) would take over as chief risk officer when Jerome Lienhard retired at the end of the year.
Kelly Coffey
JPMorgan private bank chief Coffey leaves to run City National
In February, JPMorgan Chase's head of its U.S. private bank became chief executive of City National Bank.

Kelly Coffey, who was recognized as one of American Banker's most powerful women in 2018, succeeded Russell Goldsmith as CEO of City National, a Los Angeles-based unit of Royal Bank of Canada.

City National, which has $49 billion in assets and is housed in RBC's wealth management division, is a private and commercial lender dubbed Hollywood's "bank to the stars." It also has $67 billion in client investment assets and has helped drive some of the Canadian lender's growth in the U.S. since RBC acquired it in 2015.

Coffey spent five years as CEO of JPMorgan's U.S. private banking unit.

Goldsmith remained as chairman after running the lender for more than 20 years.
Erminia (Ernie) Johannson and she’s with BMO Harris Bank
BMO Harris selects U.S. personal, business banking head
In an effort by BMO Financial to generate more revenue from its U.S. operations, BMO Harris Bank in Chicago tapped an executive from its Canadian parent to head up one of its key business units.

The $109 billion-asset bank appointed Erminia (Ernie) Johannson in February as group head of U.S. personal and business banking.

In addition to leading BMO Harris’ U.S. strategy for personal and business banking, she also has oversight of North American retail and small-business payments, and the North American fraud team. The position is based in Chicago.
Huntley Garriott
Live Oak adds leadership with a Goldman touch
Intending to build on a reputation for technology initiatives and Small Business Administration lending, Live Oak Bancshares in Wilmington, N.C., recruited a Goldman Sachs partner with specialty finance experience to run its bank.

Huntley Garriott became president of the $2.8 billion-asset company in October, succeeding Scott Custer, who held the post for about a year.

Custer, who ran Yadkin Financial before its 2017 sale to F.N.B. Corp., retained a senior position at Live Oak, focusing on strategic development goals.

Garriott, a Goldman partner since in 2014, was co-head of the specialty finance team. He also worked in the investment banking division as part of Goldman's financial institutions group.
Anthony Noto, CEO of Social Finance.
SoFi's high-profile leadership decision
Under pressure about its corporate culture, Social Finance in January named Anthony Noto, Twitter's chief operating officer, as its new CEO.

With a background at Goldman Sachs, Noto was deemed a steadying influence after the hasty departure of SoFi's former CEO Mike Cagney, who resigned amid an alleged sexual misconduct scandal.

In an interview with American Banker, Noto did not say whether SoFi would revive its bid to secure a banking license, but suggested that it remained an option.

“Strategically we will focus on driving a lower cost of funding, driving a lower customer acquisition cost, and driving a higher lifetime value,” he said. “And there are a number of avenues we can go down in order to do that.”
Silicon Valley Bank's new chief product officer, Gagan Kanjlia
Silicon Valley Bank builds up its executive team
Silicon Valley Bank in Santa Clara, Calif., announced several key hires in 2018.

In December it appointed Gagan Kanjlia, a former Capital One executive with fintech experience, as its new chief product officer.

Kanjlia joined after spending two-plus years as the head of product for OnDeck, an online lending provider for small businesses. Before joining OnDeck, Kanjlia spent 14 years at Capital One in a variety of positions.

Additionally, Michael Dreyer, previously COO at Monitise, a U.K. mobile banking and payments technology group, joined as chief operations officer in November. Bruce Wallace, formerly SVB's chief operations officer, became the bank's full-time chief digital officer.

In August, Nick Shevelyov, the former chief security officer and chief privacy officer at the $54 billion-asset bank, was named its chief information officer. Robin Staples, former head of IT digital and core banking solutions, was named its new chief technology officer.
CIT announces key hires
CIT Group in New York named two key leaders in 2018.

In February, Robert Rubino became president of its banking division, a newly created role, as well as head of commercial banking. Rubino joined CIT from Santander Bank in Boston, where he had been co-president and head of commercial banking for the Banco Santander subsidiary.

Before joining Santander Bank in June 2017, Rubino worked for 10 years at Citizens Financial Group in Providence, R.I., where he had a number of senior-level roles within the commercial bank.

He reports to Ellen Alemany, chairwoman and CEO of the $40 billion-asset CIT. Alemany was Citizens' CEO from 2007 through 2013, before its spinoff from Royal Bank of Scotland.

Additionally, Wahida Plummer was named chief risk officer. Plummer joined the company in 2017 as an executive vice president in charge of regulatory matters. Before that, she was head of risk management in the consumer lending group at Wells Fargo.

Plummer succeeded Robert Rowe, who “elected to leave the company to pursue other career opportunities,” CIT said in a press release.

Additionally, CIT announced that Chief Credit Officer Marisa Harney took on an expanded role, and now oversees all areas of credit risk.
Timothy Mayopoulos, president and chief executive officer of Fannie Mae.
Fannie top exec steps down
Fannie Mae is seeking a successor to Chief Executive Timothy Mayopoulos, who said in July he would step down from the government-sponsored enterprise by year-end.

Mayopoulos, who had run the GSE since 2012, continued to serve as CEO until his departure, working with the board as it began its search for a successor.

At the time of Mayopoulos' announcement, Fannie said it had promoted David Benson to president. Benson has served as Fannie’s vice president and chief financial officer for the past five years. Celeste Brown, the deputy CFO, was promoted to fill Benson’s slot.

Two months later, Fannie announced its general counsel was leaving to head the legal team at the digital currency exchange Coinbase. Brian Brooks, an executive vice president at Fannie, joined the company in 2014 after leaving his position as chief legal officer at OneWest Bank.
Two key moves for Toyota Financial Services
Toyota Financial Services announced a pair of executive hires in 2018.

In July, Toyota’s finance and insurance arm said that Vipin Gupta has joined as its chief information officer. He will guide the Plano, Texas, company’s information technology strategy and operations, and coordinate its technology efforts with Toyota Motor North America and other global Toyota affiliates.

Gupta previously served as chief information officer for the Key Community Bank unit of the $135 billion-asset KeyCorp in Cleveland. He drove digital innovation and worked on fintech partnerships in that role.

Then in August, the firm announced it named an insider as its next leader.

Mark Templin became its president and CEO, succeeding Mike Groff, who retired.

Templin is chairman of Toyota Motor Credit and president and chief operating officer of Toyota Financial Services. He also succeeded Groff as CEO of the Americas region of Toyota Financial Services International.