Jane Fraser is just weeks away from winning the race to become the first woman to head a major Wall Street bank. So, uh, what, exactly has she won?

Ever since the 2008 financial crisis, when Citi required a $45 billion government bailout and had to split itself into separate operating units to survive, the sprawling institution has been limping along in third place among the four biggest U.S. banks, underwhelming its investors and irritating regulators…. The bank had longstanding problems, regulators said — from failing to catch money launderers to ineffective risk management.

In other words, she’ll win the same thing that the other female firsts have won.

Researchers had found that corporate boards were more likely to appoint women to positions of power — as leaders or to positions on boards — if their companies were struggling…. For instance, Ginni Rometty was handed what many on Wall Street agreed was a tough turnaround assignment when she became C.E.O. of IBM in 2012. And when Mary T. Barra was put in charge of General Motors, becoming the first woman to lead one of the major U.S. automakers, she was tasked with righting its course four years after it had declared bankruptcy.

Congratulations on getting to clean up the mess your male predecessors left you, Jane. Luckily, you’re quite well-versed in that area.

Ms. Fraser… worked to clean up its Mexican subsidiary, which was reeling from a money-laundering scandal when she took over the Latin America region in 2015….

She is keen to apply lessons learned in other countries to challenges facing the U.S…. In Mexico, Citi started a system that allows people to transfer money using QR codes scanned by smartphones; anyone sending or receiving less than $400 can use it for free. Digital payments systems can increase financial inclusion by allowing people without bank accounts to send and receive money.

I mean, you don’t get to so momentous a moment in your career without a fair number of operational wins under your best. But surely, however, on the eve of this milestone, Fraser’s got a more holistic plan to change, you know, pretty much everything, given the state Citi’s in?

Her management style is centered on empathy and is not much different from her predecessor’s, she said.

Uh, Jane? Might you want to consider why you’re getting this job in the first place?

Jane Fraser Has to Fix Citigroup. It Will Be a Tough Job. [NYT]


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Mike Corbat's Wife Is Gal-Pals With The Wife Of One Of The Guys Abruptly Fired The Day He Was Named CEO, And Other Things Making His First 100 Days At The Top Awkward

Over at the Journal today you will find a story called "Awkward Spot For Citi's CEO," which details the various awkwardness encountered by Mike Corbat since he took over as Chief Executive Officer, following Vikram Pandit's awkward ousting. There is also a delightful bonus round of awkwardness that comes as a postscript to the article, but we'll get the that later. First, why are things slightly awk for Corbat? Well, for starters, he knew that Pandit was going to be unexpectedly and unceremoniously fired long before VP did, including the entire time they were on a business trip together. The whole time they were flying over there together, having dinner together, meeting with clients together, taking in shows and doing touristy things when they had downtime from the conference together, he knew Pandit was about to get hit by a truck. No one blames Corbat for Vickles getting canned but, at the same time, there is a feeling by a few at Citi that you'd have to be some kind of monster to look a person in the eye and say "Sure, a trip the the Zen Temples sounds great," and take in the cherry blossoms and drink sake and do karaoke and fight over who is Scarlett Johansson and who is Bill Murray with him all the while knowing what was going to happen when you got home. For Vikram Pandit, a trip to Tokyo for the International Monetary Fund and World Bank conference last month seemed routine. But Michael Corbat, the longtime Citigroup executive who joined Mr. Pandit there, knew better. Unbeknown to Mr. Pandit, Citigroup Chairman Mike O'Neill had told Mr. Corbat that the board could seek Mr. Pandit's resignation as chief executive and hand the job to Mr. Corbat, according to people familiar with the situation. A day after Messrs. Pandit and Corbat returned to New York, that is exactly what happened. A host of financial, competitive and regulatory issues confronts the 52-year-old Mr. Corbat atop the nation's third-biggest bank by assets. But no task is more critical than soothing workers unsettled by the way the board ousted Mr. Pandit and his longtime right-hand man, John Havens, who ran the investment bank and served as president and chief operating officer. The effort is made even more delicate by Mr. Corbat's proximity to Mr. Pandit in the days before the coup. Executives say they don't blame Mr. Corbat for Mr. Pandit's overthrow, though some wondered how Mr. Corbat was able to sit through the IMF meetings knowing what was to unfold. Additionally awkward is the fact that there has been chatter around the office and scrawled on the walls of the men's room that there's only enough room in this Citi for one guy named Mike, and it's not Corbat. Adding to Mr. Corbat's challenges is the perception among some insiders that he is overshadowed by Mr. O'Neill. Employees have privately joked that of the two Mikes, it is Mr. O'Neill who is truly in charge. People close to Mr. O'Neill dispute that notion and say he has spent little time at his Citigroup office in the past month. Finally, you have the awkwardness of Mike not only knowing his colleague Vikram was going to be fired, but that his colleague and friend, John Havens, was getting the boot himself, which may or may not have caused auxiliary awkwardness for Corbat on the home front. Mr. Corbat's position is all the more awkward given his close personal relationship with Mr. Havens. The two men spent time together outside of work, occasionally vacationing with their wives at Mr. Havens' Scotland estate. All good examples of things that could be characterized as awkward to be sure. But! The absolute most wonderful bit of awkwardness to be found in "Awkward Spot For Citi's CEO," is, without question, this: