The Women to Watch: No. 5, JPMorgan Chase's Lori Beer
Managing Director, Global Chief Information Officer, JPMorgan Chase
Of the world's 10 largest financial services firms by revenue, only JPMorgan Chase has a woman as its chief information officer.
Lori Beer joined JPMorgan as managing director of global technology five years ago, was promoted to CIO of its corporate and investment bank in 2016 and a year later was named global CIO and to the company's 12-person operating committee.
She and her team are responsible for the firm's technology and infrastructure worldwide, managing an annual budget of $11 billion and some 50,000 technologists across JPMorgan's retail, wholesale and wealth and asset management businesses.
Beer's team is also tasked with executing on the "mobile first, digital everything" strategy laid out by Chairman and CEO Jamie Dimon, overseeing investments in everything from faster payments technology to cryptocurrencies to a new online small-business lending platform to replace to its soon-to-be-discontinued partnership with the fintech lender OnDeck Capital.
Banks' tech priorities are immense and will only increase, and one of Beer's big concerns is that there won't be enough workers to meet the industry's demands. It's estimated that there are more than 2 million unfilled jobs in STEM — science, technology, engineering and math — fields and that the shortfall could swell to 3.5 million by 2026.
Meanwhile, the gender gap is getting worse. In 1995, 37% of computer scientists were women, but that number has since fallen to 24% "and if we do nothing, in 10 years, the number of women in computing will decrease to just 22%," Beer said.
Beer has made recruiting and nurturing top female talent one of her top priorities. Under her leadership, JPMorgan Chase actively supports programs such as Girls Who Code, a program that introduces high schoolers to tech careers, and Tech Connect, a training program within JPMorgan Chase for aspiring software engineers who don't have tech backgrounds. Beer notes that 200 people have graduated from TechConnect and that the majority are women.
"The program has brought some great women technologists into the firm — women who might otherwise have embarked on a completely different career path," Beer said.