Women in Banking

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It's that time again ...

Our 17th annual rankings are out! Check out this year's lists of the Most Powerful Women in Banking, the Most Powerful Women to Watch and the Most Powerful Women in Finance.

Citigroup's Mary McNiff tops the watch list, following her recent promotion to chief executive of its banking unit. She succeeds Barbara Desoer, who had long been part of the rankings before her retirement. (See Desoer’s 2018 profile here.)

Once again, Bank of America’s Cathy Bessant tops the banking list and JPMorgan Chase’s Mary Callahan Erodes tops the finance list.

But there were many new faces — 20 in all! — who made the Most Powerful Women rankings for the first time this year.

Retirements helped make room for some of the new names. Besides Desoer, the departures included Fifth Third's Teresa Tanner and JPMorgan's Sandie O'Connor, among others.

The watch list adds some heavyweights.

Most of the first-timers are debuting on this list, including SunTrust’s Ellen Fitzsimmons, who, as general counsel, was a key player in the largest bank merger since the financial crisis, and JPMorgan’s Lori Beer, who is the only woman to hold a chief information officer title among the 10 largest financial services firms by revenue.

Kelly Coffey is not new to the Most Powerful Women rankings overall, but moves over from the finance list after becoming the first female CEO in City National Bank’s 65-year history. Previously she had been CEO of JPMorgan’s private bank, a role that earned her a spot on the finance list for the past three years.

Tech was well-represented among the newcomers on the watch list. Joining Beer are Melissa Stevens, Fifth Third’s chief digital officer, and Maria Veltre, head of digital, innovation and payments strategy for Santander U.S.

Commercial banking also made a strong showing, with KeyCorp’s Angela Mago, TD Bank’s Marla Willner, PNC’s Stephanie Novosel, and Citizens Financial’s Joanne Wyper.

Other brand-new names include: HSBC’s Jennifer Strybel, BofA’s Sharon Miller, BMO Financial’s Sharon Haward-Laird, Regions’ Kate Danella and First Republic Bank’s Hafize Gaye Erkan.

In addition, two past honorees return, Julieann Thurlow of Reading Cooperative Bank and Michelle Di Gangi of Bank of the West.

Seven newcomers join the finance list.

One has the title of chairman and CEO, Michelle Seitz from Russell Investments, and one has the title of president, Katy Knox from Bank of America Private Bank.

The others are JPMorgan's Teresa Heitsenrether, Barclays' Barbara Mariniello, Deutsche Bank's Michaela Ludbrook. Mizuho Financial's Michal Katz, and DWS Group's Roelfien Kuijpers.

Welcome to the banking list.

A handful of women moved from the watch list to the banking list this year, including Rosilyn Houston, chief talent and culture executive at BBVA; Yolande Piazza, CEO at Citi FinTech; Ernie Johannson, group head of North American personal banking and U.S. business banking at BMO Financial; and Laurie Stewart, the CEO of Sound Community Bank, who is about to become the new chair of the American Bankers Association.

Also don’t miss ...

Citigroup CEO Michael Corbat explains why his company was willing to face backlash for revealing raw pay gap numbers for women and minority employees in this BankThink post. He also offers counterarguments to some of the reasons other banks might have for holding back on sharing the data.

American Banker posted video footage from behind the scenes at the Most Powerful Women cover photo shoot on Facebook. Check it out here.

You can see all of the rankings, videos and latest news on women in the industry at our Women in Banking homepage. There will be more features posted daily leading up the Most Powerful awards dinner next week, including profiles of our Lifetime Achievement honorees. Scroll down the page to see the daily news feed.

In other news ...

U.S. no, but U.K. yes: So much for holding out hope of a female CEO at one of the U.S. banking giants. Wells Fargo finally ended the suspense by choosing BNY Mellon CEO Charlie Scharf as its new leader. But across the pond, Royal Bank of Scotland recently named Alison Rose as its next CEO, marking the first time the U.K. has a woman running one of its four largest banks. She will replace Ross McEwan in November. Still, Europe faces an uphill battle in terms of the lack of female executives running financial giants.

A bank by women and for women: A group of female executives are planning a Chicago de novo called First Women’s Bank. The group includes former acting director of the Small Business Administration Marianne Markowitz, who would be the new bank’s CEO, and former JPMorgan Chase executive Amy Fahey, who would be the chairman. At least three people with banking experience would be on the board, including Beth Wnuk, formerly with Ixonia Bank.

Run this world: The incoming managing director of the International Monetary Fund, Kristalina Georgieva, has vowed to increase diversity as she takes office Oct. 1. During an IMF board meeting, Georgieva said she would seek “meaningful and measurable advancements in all aspects of diversity, with a particular focus on increasing the numbers and seniority of women and nationals from under-represented regions.” Georgieva, who was previously CEO of the World Bank, replaces Christine Lagarde, who stepped down to be president of the European Central Bank. Observers expect Georgieva to take a similiar approach to Lagarde in mangaing the IMF, including focusing on issues like gender equality and climate change, which are seen as noncore to financial stability, but relevant to macroeconomic health.

CFPB shuffle: The Consumer Financial Protection Bureau has added two more women to its executive team. Karla Carnemark is now the deputy chief of staff, and Ren Essene is the chief data officer. Carnemark has an extensive background in public service, including holding senior-level government positions at the U.S. Department of Defense, the Department of Commerce and the Department of Transportation. Essene has worked at the CFPB in various roles since 2011. The changes are part of a five-person revamp announced Wednesday.

An outlier: The NFL is often seen as a male-dominated industry, but the Philadelphia Eagles are changing the game. More than half of owner Jeffrey Lurie’s top advisers are women, the Wall Street Journal reports. Lurie said he wasn’t specifically looking for diversity in gender on his team but diversity in thought. “That seems to result in lots of women winning these hiring decisions,” he said. “It’s very interesting.”

Our awards dinner for the Most Powerful Women in Banking and Finance is on Oct. 3 in New York City. Please see our Women in Banking page for more information and join our LinkedIn group.

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