Citigroup said Thursday that its chief executive, Michael Corbat, plans to retire in February, paving the way for his top lieutenant, Jane Fraser, to become the first female leader of a big Wall Street bank.
Corbat, who has served as chief executive since 2012, will be succeeded by Fraser, who is Citi’s president and the head of its global consumer banking business. A 16-year veteran of the firm, Fraser was teed up as the bank’s next CEO last year when she was promoted to her current role.
In addition to having served as Citi’s president, Fraser has overseen several of the bank’s businesses, serving as the CEO of its private bank and its Latin American region, as well as its U.S. consumer and commercial bank and mortgage business. She worked at Goldman Sachs and McKinsey & Co. before joining Citi in 2004.
“We believe Jane is the right person to build on Mike’s record and take Citi to the next level,” John C. Dugan, Citi’s chairman, said in a statement. “She has deep experience across our lines of business and regions and we are highly confident in her.”
Fraser’s ascension will break one of corporate America’s longest-enduring glass ceilings. At a hearing of the House Financial Services Committee last April, one lawmaker asked Corbat and six of his peers to raise their hand if any of them believed they would be succeeded by a woman or person of color. None did.
Fraser, 53, is poised to join a very small group of female leaders at major corporations. There are only 31 women among the CEOs of the 500 companies that make up the S&P 500 stock index, according to the advocacy group Catalyst.
Succession plans at other Wall Street firms may now attract more attention. JPMorgan Chase, for example, has two women, Marianne Lake and Jennifer Piepszak, among the potential candidates to succeed its longtime chairman and chief executive, Jamie Dimon.
Under Corbat — who took over in 2012 after the sudden resignation of his predecessor, Vikram S. Pandit, amid a revolt by its board — the bank sought to rebuild after the 2008 global financial crisis. In its statement, Citi noted that its net income during his tenure grew to nearly $20 billion last year, from $7 billion in 2012.