Give It Some Time: CIT Group Chief Executive Ellen Alemany is staying the course on her turnaround plan, which focuses on lending to midsize companies, even though this business line posted weak results for the first quarter. "We want to be the lead bank in the small- and middle-market space nationally, and the customer base in our factoring business is a really crucial part of that strategy," Alemany said. CFO Carol Hayles acknowledged that current market conditions "aren't great" but the company is looking forward to growth in its commercial banking in the coming year. "We've got a lot of new business initiatives going," Alemany said.
The Scenic Route: Empty nesters are making meaningful "third act" career moves, Sallie Krawcheck has observed. People ages 55 to 64 made up 26% of new U.S. entrepreneurs in 2014, an 11 percentage point rise from 1996, she noted in an op-ed this week identifying three types of third act. She cited the examples of JPMorgan vet Blythe Masters, who now leads blockchain startup Digital Asset Holdings; and ex-Goldman Sachs bankers Deborah Jackson, now the founder of Plum Alley, a crowdfunding site for women entrepreneurs;and Jacki Zehner, now chief engagement officer of Women Moving Millions, a nonprofit devoted to helping women and girls. "Are we entering a world in which women's careers peak later than men's?" Krawcheck asks. "In which the guys continue to build straight-line careers—where one step leads to the next—while women take a more scenic route, blending career and childcare in their children's younger years, then roaring back in their third acts?"
Market Makers: When is it going to be the right time for investment bankers to reenter emerging markets and Europe? This is the most important question in dealmaking right now, according to Robin Rankin, Credit Suisse's co-head of mergers and acquisitions. With Chinese companies bidding for U.S. assets and Anbang's unsuccessful bid for hotel giant Starwood this year, Rankin's team has been presenting to would-be buyers about activity here instead of the emerging markets. "If you're not meaningful in the states, you're missing an extraordinarily large customer base, and the one thing we don't know is when European activity is going to pick up," she said.
Who's Who in Gender Equality: Bloomberg has created an index to showcase which companies in financial services are promoting gender equality. The inaugural list on the Bloomberg Financial Services Gender Equality Index has 26 companies, including JPMorgan, Bank of America, Citigroup, Deutsche Bank, BMO Financial Group, Metlife and Visa. The media organization expects more companies to come on this year.
BB&T in Winston-Salem, N.C., has said Cynthia Williams, its chief corporate communications officer, will retire June 30.
Tech Women Start Nonprofit: Meet Project Include, a nonprofit that collects tech companies' employee data and shares it to help improve the diversity balance in Silicon Valley. The organization plans to have tech companies submit commitments to diversity, focusing on young startups with 25 to 1,000 employees. It also plans to ask the startups' venture capitalist mentors to help with the initiative. Project Include's founders are some of the industry's best known women, some of whom may already be publicly recognized for their gender diversity efforts. Ellen Pao, formerly of Reddit and Kleiner Perkins Caufield & Byers, and Erica Baker of Google are among the eight founding women, who are involved alongside their day jobs.
"No matter how senior you get in an organization, no matter how well you're perceived to be doing, your job is never done" — Abigail Johnson, president and CEO of Fidelity Investments and one of American Banker's Most Powerful Women in Finance.