Called the most powerful woman in banking by American Banker, Jane Fraser’s career spans 34 years and several countries, culminating with her current position as CEO of Citi. She assumed the post in 2021 and became the first woman to lead a Wall Street bank. Over the past year, Fraser galvanized Citi delivering excellent first-quarter earnings in 2022 with more than $4 billion returned to shareholders. And she’s done it on an accelerated timeline, in an organization with more than 200,000 employees, and in a historically volatile time in world politics. She’s taken immediate and decisive steps to simplify Citi by announcing that the bank would be divesting itself of several international consumer markets across. She’s already executed agreements to sell nine. When not working in Citi’s New York headquarters, she’s also on several important economic boards, including the Partnership for New York City, the Harvard Business School’s board of dean’s advisors, the Economic Club of New York, and the Council on Foreign Relations. But next to her undeniable financial and managerial successes with Citigroup, Fraser’s achieved additional and important success in her efforts to affect social change, poverty, and climate change.
Why They Made the Worthy 100: Shortly after assuming the office of Citi CEO, Fraser sent a clear message that her tenure would be marked by transforming Citi’s culture and its financial success. She did this beginning with a popular LinkedIn post that Citigroup’s future activities would factor in empathy for clients and people just as much as innovation and profit potential. Fraser wrote, “It’s time to bust some more myths! Empathy is not a sign of weakness. In fact, it can create a competitive edge. Empathy is about listening to our clients rather than pushing a product or our idea,” and “In such a digital world, scale, agility and client centricity are an imperative, and excellence is the only standard. I believe empathy helps us achieve them. Let’s set a new way of showing leadership.” Fraser immediately began making good on this vision by building one of the most successful employee communication programs during the COVID-19 pandemic had 91% of Citi employees heralding approval of its effectiveness. She also made fast strides in her climate crisis agenda, announcing new investment plans in renewable energy and green transportation solutions. She also promised Citi would become a net zero carbon emission company by 2050. And if that’s not enough, Fraser is also trying to better the sad state of affordable housing across the United States. She has Citi providing more than $5.6 billion in loans aimed directly at a project that’ll give homes to families that are financially secure but still have trouble affording a home in today’s sky-rocketing market. Finally, under her leadership, Citi has expanded “double bottom line” equity investments in U.S. private sector companies driving both financial and social returns as part of the Citi Impact Fund. Since the creation of the Fund, a top priority has been investing in diverse founders – both women and people of color. According to Citigroup, as of September 2022, over 71% of the Fund’s portfolio companies are founded by people of color or women. Of Citi’s continued commitment to diversity, equity and inclusion, new direction towards inclusiveness, Fraser stated in her American Banker interview, “I firmly believe that greater diversity, equity, and inclusion enable progress. To me, diversity is about different perspectives and ideas, equity is about creating a fair playing field, and inclusion is about empowering people to be their authentic selves so they can play to their strengths.”