Summary List Placement
On Tuesday, Goldman Sachs announced Stephanie Cohen, who has been the firm's chief strategy officer since 2017, will co-run the bank's consumer banking and wealth management division, making her the first woman to lead a big business at the financial giant. The news comes just a few weeks after it was announced that Jane Fraser will be Citigroup's next CEO, making her the first woman to run an American bank. Women in senior leadership positions are rare, particularly in the financial sector. Banks have been vocal about working to add more women to senior ranks, but this was undermined by a moment in April 2019, when Rep. Al Green (D‑Texas) asked the CEOs of Goldman Sachs, Citigroup, JPMorgan Chase, Morgan Stanley, Bank of America, State Street, and Bank of New York Mellon if they believed their successor would be a woman or a person of color. Not one CEO raised his hand. This anecdote fits into an unfortunate bigger picture: Only 37 CEOs in the Fortune 500 are women. Despite the progress that needs to be made, there are silver linings. Researchers at Stanford Graduate School of Business noticed that companies in the financial sector with greater gender diversity saw a rise in stock prices. When the researchers looked at why investors appear affected by gender diversity, they found that investors thought that gender-diverse firms were more ethical, less likely to draw in negative political attention, and more likely to think outside of the box. Many women in the financial sector are paving the way forward within their companies. Here's Business Insider's list of the 19 most powerful women in global finance, listed in no particular order. SEE ALSO: Women are taking on 'invisible tasks' that lead to burn out and keep them from the C-suite. Here's what they are — and how to stop them 1. Stephanie Cohen, incoming co-lead of consumer banking and wealth management at Goldman Sachs
Appointed: September 2020 When she joined the company: 2004 Thoughts on gender diversity: In 2018, Cohen spoke on Bloomberg about the firm's $500 million investment in women entrepreneurs. She called attention to the gender gap in the investing world, saying, "Women are not getting the capital that they need or deserve, punctuated by the fact that there's a lack of diversity in the investing community." 2. Jane Fraser, incoming CEO, Citigroup
Appointed: September 2020 When she joined the company: 2004 Thoughts on gender diversity: "When I first was put in charge of Latin America, there was some pretty negative headlines in the press of Mexico about having a female foreigner with responsibility," Fraser told CNN Business in 2018. "And this was seen as a bit of an insult in Mexico." She tackled this problem by "embracing the power of her femininity" and feeling comfortable with who she was. She further said she wants to bring more women into senior roles at the bank, but doesn't think it's all about gender. "We've also brought in people from different countries, we've brought in people from different industries. So, I've learned it's about diversity, it's not just gender," she said. 3. Alison Rose, CEO, NatWest Group
Appointed: November 2019 When she joined the company: 1992 Thoughts on gender diversity: "In the early part of my career I was, like most people, very gender-blind," Rose told Insider Media Limited. "I got on with the job, didn't really think about it, and then when I got to a certain level I looked around and there were no other women. Suddenly you're the only woman in a room and you really do stand-out." "I don't think I've ever felt a glass ceiling, because I'm quite determined, but sometimes [it feels like] there's asbestos in the walls as you go through," she continued. "There are different barriers you have to work through and challenges." 4. Ana Botin, executive chairman, Santander
Appointed: September 2014 When she joined the company: 1989 Thoughts on gender diversity: "After years of serving as an executive I've seen enough to know, on balance, women are not treated fairly," Botin wrote in a LinkedIn post. "But I frequently heard feminism equated with the idea of setting quotas. My gut reaction was against setting quotas." She continued in a later paragraph: "Still, I always believed women have the intrinsic abilities to get ahead on merit. Working for eight years for a US bank in New York taught me something: If I spoke up and work harder than my bosses, my efforts won't go unnoticed." 5. Thasunda Duckett, CEO of Chase consumer banking, JPMorgan Chase & Co.
Appointed: September 2016 When she joined the company: 2004 Thoughts on gender diversity: "When I walk into a room, you're gonna see my race and you're gonna see my gender," Duckett said at Fortune's Most Powerful Women Next Gen Summit. "I just think that we need to stop being apologetic and trying to fit in." 6. Marianne Lake, CEO of consumer lending, JPMorgan Chase & Co.
Appointed: May 2019 When she joined the company: 1999 Thoughts on gender diversity: "Because we don't have many females in the C-suite, young women don't see role models or potential paths towards executive level leadership and are more likely to de-select themselves out of higher-level leadership roles." Lake is quoted as saying in a report published by McKinsey & Company. "I think women are looking at the industry, the board, the C-suite, and management to find people who are similar to them so that they understand they can also succeed in those roles," she observes. "If we believe that investing in women is critical to the company's success, we have to think about it constantly. It's one dimension of running a successful business. We can have targets around gender diversity—and we should measure them—but making it a priority comes down to leadership and culture." 7. Abigail Johnson, CEO, Fidelity
Appointed: 2014 When she joined the company: 1988 Thoughts on gender diversity: "As employers, we need to accept that women and men operate differently in the workplace and set up development and training programs that are designed to target high potential employees in both groups," Johnson told Glassdoor. "As women, we need to remind ourselves to have an 'opt in' attitude. Career downturns happen to everyone and we must remember to treat them as opportunities to change how we work or try something new. That is what shows our true mettle." 8. Stacey Cunningham, president, NYSE
Appointed: May 2018 When she joined the company: 1994 as an intern; left in 2005; returned in 2012. Thoughts on gender diversity: "It wasn't, for me, about breaking glass ceilings or breaking barriers; it was about accomplishing what I set out to accomplish," Cunningham told Vox. Later, she said, "It's not just about gender. Different people have different dynamics, and you have a much more well-balanced view as a leadership team if you're focusing on making sure you're not all talking with the same voice." 9. Jenn Piepszak, CFO, JPMorgan Chase & Co.
Appointed: May 2019 When she joined the company: 1994 Thoughts on gender diversity: "Self-doubt is not a friend in business, especially when people are counting on you," Piepszak said, per JPMorgan's website. "If you need a jolt of confidence, reach out to one of your believers. They'll be happy to remind you that you have what it takes to make it all the way. 10. Jennifer Johnson, president and COO, Franklin Templeton
Appointed: December 2016 When she joined the company: 1988 Thoughts on gender diversity: "I never consider myself a female executive but I always position myself as a professional executive," Johnson told the South China Morning Post. "There is always someone who is biased about gender but my advice is not to waste your energy or pay attention to those people. Just focus on getting your job done in a professional way and you will be successful, regardless if you're a man or a woman." 11. Cathy Bessant, chief operations and technology officer, Bank of America
Appointed: July 2015 When she joined the company: 1982 Thoughts on gender diversity: "Diversity is not just a cultural imperative; it is a business and economic development imperative as well," Bessant wrote in the American Banker. "Throughout my more than 30-year career, I have found that diversity connects us more deeply to our customers. At the end of the day, diversity always wins." 12. Mary Erdoes, CEO, JPMorgan Asset & Wealth Management
Appointed: September 2009 When she joined the company: 1996 Thoughts on gender diversity: When a senior JPMorgan banker wondered if it was fair to consider Erdoes to run the bank in 2005, seeing as she was a mother, "he was overruled," Forbes reports. Erdoes told Forbes, "I can't imagine someone saying that about a man with two children." 13. Suni Harford, global head of investments, UBS Asset Management
Appointed: 2017 When she joined the company: 2017 Thoughts on gender diversity: "What I really mean to say is that the concept of a solution or a fix-all for a universal, internal peace between the tug of both sides of a life, work life and personal life, is a myth," Harford said at a CFA Institute Alpha and Gender Diversity Conference. "The scale is ever-present. On one side of the scale are the things that pull us away from work, things that make working hard. On the other side of the scale are things that pull us toward work, give us reward, and make it worth it for us to put in all the hours and all the travel, etc." "So back to the balancing act," Harford said. "Work is hard versus work is great. If we want to retain women, we have two choices. Make the left hand of the side of the scale lighter. Make it easier to work, make it easier for them to do what they need to do. Or make the right hand of the scale heavier, which is to say give them more rewards, more opportunity, more reasons to stay at the job." 14. Kristi Mitchem, head of global asset management, BMO
Appointed: March 2019 When she joined the company: 2019 Thoughts on gender diversity: "If you're a young woman coming into finance today, you don't see a lot of successful women in elevated positions," Mitchem said on Bloomberg Television in 2017, per Financial Planning. "We need to have women visible in high-level positions so young women can see what's possible." She continued, "I consistently see women who could improve their skills in the area of presence and would benefit from seeking guidance on how to talk persuasively and powerfully. One of the most wonderful things I have realized is that it is a learned behavior that you can enhance over time." 15. Julia Wellborn, head of private wealth management, Wells Fargo
Appointed: July 2019 When she joined the company: July 2019 Thoughts on gender diversity: Wellborn transferred to the University of West Georgia, and one of her sorority sisters there inspired her to apply to certain banking programs that resulted in her current career trajectory. She told UWG that hiring is crucial: "The most important thing I can do at this level is to select the right leaders who are experts in each of my business lines, support their success, and foster collaboration among them to achieve our overarching goals." 16. Mellody Hobson, co-CEO, Ariel Investments
Appointed: July 2019 When she joined the company: 1991 Thoughts on gender diversity: "I am a person of color who happens to be a woman as well, and I have firsthand dealt with inequality, despite having shown up with all of the credentials. I do not sit here believing that if you've just gone to a great school and this, that and the other, it's all going to be fine," Hobson told the New York Times. "It just doesn't work like that in our society. I think about those people who were like me and are like me. That goes into the boardrooms that I'm in. I also think about the people of color who are inside of those companies, making sure they get the same opportunity as those who are in the majority population." 17. Sasha Wiggins, Group Head of Public Policy and Corporate Responsibility, Barclays
Appointed: April 2018 When she joined the company: 2002 Thoughts on gender diversity: Wiggins stated the following on an Accenture panel when she was CEO of Barclays Ireland: "Women do feel the need to tick every single job criteria before they'll even apply for a job. I think, therefore, that whilst we as women need to check ourselves and be bold and take decisions and put ourselves in situations that we wouldn't think we could be in, I think organizations have a duty to respect and understand that that's a fact, and to reach into the organization and help people understand that they could take on more." She continued: "I have to say from a personal perspective that I would not be here today if Barclays hadn't reached in and helped me see that. Now, I had to go through a process, and it wasn't sure that I was going to get offered the job. They interviewed me seven times for it." "But I do think organizations must understand and appreciate that women just work slightly differently to men. Doesn't make them better, doesn't make them worse. Just makes them a little bit different, and we need to have initiatives to focus on that." 18. Julie Monaco, global head of corporate and investment banking coverage for the public sector, Citigroup
Appointed: July 2013 When she joined the company: July 2007 Thoughts on gender diversity: "There is a lot more variety in the positions and types of jobs in banking than people would imagine," Monaco said, per Theglasshammer. "College students majoring in business often tend to think only of being a 'trader' or an investment banker however there are a broad range of different positions available which can give greater flexibility to exploring one's interest and developing skills, particularly for young women." 19. Adena Friedman, CEO, Nasdaq
Appointed: January 2017 When she joined the company: June 2014 Thoughts on gender diversity: "You see so many fewer women in the recruitment pool, so therefore it makes it harder to reach parity," Friedman told CNN's Poppy Harlow. "That's why we've got to get more women to go into finance, to get more women to go into tech, and to take advantage of the education available to them because that will then get them into the industry." "Our pitch is that Nasdaq provides the technology that drives economic growth around the world, and you could argue that banks provide the fuel for growth around the world," Friedman continued. "Young people coming into Nasdaq specifically realize that they're here more than just to have a fun experience, but they're actually here to make a difference."
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