JPMorgan, Comerica, U.S. Bank: Bankers on the Move

Some banks named new chief executives in recent weeks, while others laid the groundwork for future successions.

At JPMorgan Chase, Chief Financial Officer Marianne Lake was named CEO of the bank’s consumer lending division, and Jennifer Piepszak, currently CEO of card services, was chosen to succeed Lake as CFO. Lake had been rumored as a possible successor someday to CEO Jamie Dimon, and this announcement seemed to be another milestone in her pursuit of the job. However, Piepszak now could be in the mix, too, along with Lake and others.

Meanwhile, Comerica in Dallas picked the successor to its longtime CEO Ralph Babb — it was Curtis Farmer, president of Comerica Bank and its holding company. Farmer had been viewed as the heir apparent for at least four years.

Opus Bank also got a new leader, tapping Paul Taylor as its president and CEO. Taylor recently served as president and CEO of Guaranty Bancorp in Denver.

Meanwhile, Royal Bank of Scotland CEO Ross McEwan announced he would be stepping down within a year, sparking speculation about his replacement.

While all that was going on, other financial services firms hired or promoted executives to run digital operations, strategy and anti-fraud efforts.

Scroll down to see the highlights of key executive moves in banking of the past month.

Jennifer Piepszak (left) and Marianne Lake of JPMorgan Chase.
JPMorgan's latest executive shuffle watched closely
JPMorgan Chase may have hinted at potential successors to Jamie Dimon.

Marianne Lake (pictured, right) chief financial officer, was named CEO of the bank’s consumer lending division. Jennifer Piepszak (pictured, on left) currently CEO of card services, was chosen to succeed Lake as CFO. Both moves took effect May 1.

News coverage of the announcements was cautious, as there were several possible interpretations of them. One read was that it was a natural step in Lake's rise to the top spot because it made her a business-division head and allowed her to round out her resume. Yet by some accounts Piepszak was now in the mix along with Lake and perhaps others like Mary Erdoes, head of the asset management division, or commercial banking chief Doug Petno.

Lake — No. 2 on American Banker's 2018 Most Powerful Women in Banking list — has been widely viewed as a possible successor to Dimon, who last year said that he planned to stay at the helm for five more years. She had been CFO since January 2013 and has worked in commercial and retail divisions in two decades at the company.

Asked in her Women in Banking profile whether she would be interested in running a business line, Lake emphasized that she was happy as CFO — but that she was also keeping all her options on the table.

“I’m kind of open-minded about what could be next,” she said in the profile, which was published in September. “There are a lot of interesting places to be in this company.”

In the newly created position of CEO of consumer lending, Lake will have oversight of card services, home lending and auto finance. She will report to Smith, co-president and co-chief operating officer of JPMorgan. Lake, 49, previously reported to Dimon. She will remain on the company’s operating committee in her new role.

As CFO, Piepszak, also 49, will report to Dimon and will join the operating committee. Before heading card services, Piepszak was CEO of JPMorgan's business banking division. She began work at JPMorgan in 1994 and is also seen as a rising star in the company.

She was No. 4 on the Women to Watch list.
Sign outside Comerica Bank headquarters in Dallas.
Comerica (finally) names new CEO
Comerica in Dallas has named the successor to its longtime chief executive, Ralph Babb.

Curtis Farmer, president of Comerica Bank and its holding company, was named chief executive of both entities. Babb, 70, became executive chairman of both the bank and the holding company.

"Curt's focus on relationship banking and his experience in the financial services industry, as well as at Comerica, make him ideally suited for the role of CEO," Babb said in a press release on April 23.

Babb joined Comerica in 1995 as executive vice president and chief financial officer. He was named president and CEO in 2002.

As CEO, Farmer will be responsible for all business lines, credit and the bank’s support and operations teams. He will continue to report to Babb, who will chair the boards of directors for both the bank and its holding company.

Farmer joined Comerica in 2008 as executive vice president of wealth management after spending 23 years at Wachovia Bank.

He was named vice chairman of the retail bank and wealth management divisions in 2011. Farmer succeeded Babb as president in 2015, setting off speculation that he was a likely successor to the CEO.

In 2018, Farmer was named to the holding company’s board of directors and took on responsibility for technology and operations. This year, he started overseeing credit.
Ross McEwan, chief executive officer of Royal Bank of Scotland, poses for a photograph following an interview in London on Dec. 5, 2018.
RBS chief McEwan steps down, fueling succession bets
Royal Bank of Scotland's top banker will leave the state-backed lender within a year, in an expected move that potentially paves the way for a senior female executive to take his place.

The bank said April 25 it would start searching for CEO Ross McEwan's replacement immediately. People with knowledge of the matter have said that his successor could be Alison Rose, a lifer at RBS and its predecessor firms who now runs British commercial and private banking and has also been given additional responsibilities recently.

McEwan, 61, joined RBS in 2013. He has been telegraphing his intention to step down, previously saying he intended to stay through the bank's planning period for 2020. Speculation has been rampant on who might succeed McEwan after RBS reached a major settlement last year with U.S. authorities involving crisis-era mortgage-backed securities.
Derek White, as chief digital officer, U.S. Bancorp (holding company for U.S. Bank)
U.S. Bank adds first chief digital officer
After consolidating its digital team, U.S. Bank named Derek White, a veteran of BBVA and Barclays, as its leader on April 15.

White was most recently global head of client solutions with BBVA in Spain, where he led a team of nearly 10,000 employees focused on designing, creating and launching digital innovations. Before joining BBVA in January 2016, he spent 12 years with Barclays in roles that included chief design and digital officer. One of his duties was oversight of the bank's Rise accelerator in New York. He and his family are relocating to the U. S.

U.S. Bank has not had a chief digital officer up to now. In September, the bank announced that it would be creating such a role and that it was starting a search for the right person to fill it.

White will report to Chairman and CEO Andy Cecere and be a member of the company’s managing committee.
California's state capitol.
Opus Bank selects new leader
Opus Bank in Irvine, Calif., has chosen a banking industry veteran as its next leader.

The $7.7 billion-asset bank said in a press release on May 1 that Paul Taylor is its new president and CEO. Taylor, who was also added to Opus' board, recently served as president and CEO of Guaranty Bancorp in Denver, which was sold in January to Independent Bank in McKinney, Tex., for more than 300% of its tangible book value.

Taylor succeeded Paul Greig, who had been Opus’ interim CEO since founder Stephen Gordon abruptly resigned in November. Greig, a former CEO at FirstMerit, remains the bank’s chairman.
Brian Doubles
Synchrony CFO promoted to strategy role
Synchrony Financial in Stamford, Conn., promoted its chief financial officer, Brian Doubles, to a new role overseeing its expansion beyond banking and cobranded credit cards on May 2.

As president, Doubles will oversee investments into venture programs, any potential mergers and acquisitions, as well as new product introduction. He will also be in charge of expanding the direct-to-consumer banking business.

Synchrony promoted Brian Wenzel to CFO; he had previously been the deputy chief financial officer.

Doubles had been Synchrony's CFO since 2009, when it was known as GE Capital Retail Bank, and helped shepherd the company through its initial public offering in 2014. He will continue to report to CEO Margaret Keane.
Susan Riel
Eagle's Riel ditches 'interim' before her CEO title
Susan Riel was named Eagle Bancorp's permanent CEO on May 6, after holding the interim CEO title at the Bethesda, Md., company since March.

The $8.4 billion-asset company said in a press release that Riel, 69, had become its permanent president and CEO. Riel, who helped found Eagle in 1998, had been the bank's chief operating officer. She joined Eagle's board in 2017.

Riel succeeded Ron Paul, who retired on March 21 for health reasons.

One of Riel's biggest jobs will be guiding Eagle’s growth as it nears $10 billion in assets. A recent investor presentation by the company said it was focused on enhancing its infrastructure as it prepares to pass that asset threshold, which triggers heightened regulatory scrutiny.
Shelley Siefert
First Bank in Missouri names CEO
First Bank in Creve Coeur, Mo., has a new leader.

Shelley Seifert was named chairman and CEO of the bank and its holding company, FB Corp.

Seifert, who had been the bank's chief operating officer, succeeded Tim Lathe, who is planning to retire in July. Lathe will continue to work with Seifert for the next few months, the bank said in a May 1 press release.

Seifert joined the $6.3 billion-asset First Bank in 2014 as chief administrative officer. She was promoted to chief operating officer 10 months later, overseeing retail banking, technology, operations, human resources and marketing.
Regions bank branch
Regions recruits BBVA fraud specialist
Regions Financial in Birmingham, Ala., hired a fraud specialist away from rival BBVA Compass, the bank announced May 9.

Lee Byrd has been named head of fraud, the $129 billion-asset Regions said Thursday. In the newly created role, Byrd will focus on protecting both customers and the company from financial fraud, and he will report to Logan Pichel, head of enterprise operations.

Byrd has more than 20 years of experience in corporate security, information technology and fraud mitigation, according to Pichel. Before joining Regions, Byrd was the director of fraud and physical security at the $93 billion-asset BBVA Compass, also in Birmingham; before that, he held a variety of other roles in information technology and business.
Citi sign
Key Citi exec retires
Citigroup's executive shuffle continues.

Citigroup President Jamie Forese, a 34-year veteran of the bank and its No. 2 executive after CEO Michael Corbat, announced his retirement April 12 “following a changing of the guard atop a bank that has spent the decade since the financial crisis in recovery.” Forese, who also runs the bank’s investment banking and trading unit, will be succeeded in that role by his deputy, Paco Ybarra.

The bank also hired an analytics expert and promoted a key private-banking executive.

Murli Buluswar joined Citi as head of analytics and information management for U.S. consumer banking. In that newly created role, Buluswar will oversee data-based decision-making in products, marketing, digital operations and customer experience in the consumer bank, Citi said in a news release on April 29. He will also be in charge of development of analytical tools and capabilities, data governance and customer-facing and internal data-related solutions.

Moreover, Citi said that Tracey Warson would be promoted June 3 to a newly created role as chairman of Citi Private Bank, North America. Previously, Warson was the lead executive of that unit. In her new role, she will focus on client relationships, talent recruitment and development and strategy more broadly, Citi said. She will continue to report to Peter Charrington, the global head of Citi Private Bank.

As part of her new role, she will now chair Citi Private Bank’s North America Advisory Board, which she established in the past year. The board is made up of high-profile clients across the U.S. and Canada who are to convene twice a year to advise the bank on strategies and service improvements. She had been CEO of the board in addition to being head of the North America private bank.