The Women to Watch: No. 9, U.S. Bank's Kate Quinn

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Vice Chairman and Chief Administrative Officer, U.S. Bancorp

When Andy Cecere took over as CEO of U.S. Bancorp in April, one of his first orders of business was to promote Kate Quinn to vice chairman and chief administrative officer.

Quinn had been the chief strategy and reputation officer since 2015 and the move expanded her responsibilities to include human resources.

It was a reward for a job well done — Quinn was the driving force behind the successful 2016 “Power of Possible” marketing campaign — and an acknowledgement that reputation and culture are partly defined by how companies recruit, retain and develop talent.

A longtime insurance industry executive, Quinn joined U.S. Bancorp as the chief marketing officer in 2013. She was charged with improving its branding, an area that it had not focused on previously.

Though it is the nation’s fifth-largest banking company by assets, even Quinn hadn’t heard of U.S. Bank until she began interviewing for the job.

Still, before she could build an external campaign, Quinn believed she had to strengthen its message internally. At the time, marketing and community relations were housed in the retail bank, public relations reported to investor relations and government relations was part of the legal department. With support from then-CEO Richard Davis, Quinn pulled those functions into a newly created office of strategy and corporate affairs, then worked with employees companywide to develop a purpose statement and set of core values.

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“You have to have a consistent message with a consistent point of view to all of your different stakeholders,” said Quinn, who is one of 14 senior executives, and one of four women, on the company’s management committee. “When you are building a brand, it can’t be just an advertising campaign.”

These efforts by Quinn, who oversees all aspects of the company that touch on culture, branding and reputation, are resonating. In March, the Ethisphere Institute named U.S. Bancorp as one of the world’s most ethical companies for the third consecutive year. It is the largest U.S.-based banking company to ever make the list.

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