Most Powerful Women in Banking: No. 16, PNC's Karen Larrimer

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CEO of Retail Banking and Chief Customer Officer, PNC Financial Services Group

Karen Larrimer made a bold move early in her career that put her on the fast track to the C-suite.

Looking to simply get noticed, Larrimer requested a meeting with Jim Rohr, PNC’s former CEO. Rohr accepted and, when they met, spent over an hour with her, talking about possible career paths for her at the company.

Rohr, who was succeeded in 2013 by Bill Demchak, also explained to Larrimer the importance of making her achievements known to others.

“I took his advice to heart,” she said.

The advice paid off: A few years later, in 2008, Larrimer was named chief marketing officer. From then on, Rohr helped ensure she was invited to important meetings. He also gave her tough assignments — and honest feedback — along the way.

“Our relationship was a testament to the impact one person can have by identifying talent and investing time in ensuring their success,” she said.

A decade later, Larrimer is now head of PNC’s retail bank, a role she has held for the past two years — and she has a number of big challenges on her plate. Most notably, she is leading the charge on the launch of the company’s digital-only bank to consumers nationwide.

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The digital bank is expected to officially launch in late 2018. Larrimer will be responsible for developing and distinguishing PNC’s national brand.

Whether the digital bank provides a boost to deposits remains to be seen. Retail deposits at PNC rose 3% in 2017 from a year earlier, to $159.3 billion.

Over the past year, technology has been a key focus for Larrimer in other ways, as well. She continues to serve on the board of PNC’s Center for Financial Services Innovation at Carnegie Mellon University, where she has overseen projects related to quantitative marketing models and cybersecurity, among other topics.

She also serves on the board of numo, PNC’s fintech incubator, which wrote the original code on PNC’s digital bank.

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