Most Powerful Women to Watch: Ellen Fitzsimmons, Truist Financial

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Chief Legal Officer and Head of Enterprise Diversity and Human Resources

Ellen Fitzsimmons played a major part in the deal that led to the formation of Truist Financial.

And it wasn’t just the company that grew from the biggest financial services merger since 2008; so did Fitzsimmons’ responsibilities. In addition to her role as chief legal officer for Truist, Fitzsimmons was named head of enterprise diversity and human resources at the end of 2019, adding oversight of tasks like inclusion, corporate social responsibility and community reinvestment.

“We’re committed to increasing racially and ethnically diverse talent in leadership roles; delivering a comprehensive total rewards program that attracts and retains top teammates; working tirelessly to invest in our communities; and creating sound environmental, social and governance practices that reflect our mission and values,” said Fitzsimmons, who joined Truist’s predecessor, SunTrust Banks, in 2018 as its general counsel. SunTrust merged last year with BB&T to create the $467.3 billion-asset Truist.

In her expanded role, Fitzsimmons relies on an informal approach that integrates the legal and human resources teams to meet the needs of customers, regulators and business units. She also has been building on what she learned during the numerous meetings she held before the merger with business and community leaders in the regions Truist serves.

“It was clear there was a much-needed influx of investment into critical programs that improved affordable housing, mortgage lending, small-business development and economic development projects to low- and moderate-income people and communities,” Fitzsimmons said.

Truist’s response is a $60 billion investment between 2020 and 2022 in mortgage, small-business and community-development lending. Truist also plans to open at least 15 branches in low- and moderate-income communities and majority-minority communities.

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Diversity and equality Legal & General Truist Financial Women in Banking