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Wall Street Has Never Had a Woman CEO. Why Not?

Story Highlights
  • Before the recession, several women looked poised to make the jump. Over a decade later, big banking still hasn't seen a woman chief executive.

Source | | Claire Zillman

It was April of this year, three hours into a grilling of the CEOs of seven of the largest U.S. banks before the House Financial Services Committee. The hearing was to focus on the accountability of the banks, 10 years after the financial crisis. 

But Green, an eight-term congressman representing parts of Houston, had decided to discard his prepared questions and pursue a different line entirely. Looking across the row of CEOs—Michael Corbat of Citigroup, Jamie Dimon of JPMorgan Chase, James Gorman of Morgan Stanley, Brian Moynihan of Bank of America, Ronald O’Hanley of State Street Corp., Charles Scharf of Bank of New York Mellon, and David Solomon of Goldman Sachs—he put it bluntly.

“The eye would perceive that the seven of you have something in common,” Green said, slouching over his microphone. “You appear to be white men. You’ve all sermonized to a certain extent about diversity,” he continued. “If you believe that your likely successor will be a woman or a person of color, would you kindly extend a hand into the air.” Taking a physical tally is a common exercise for Green—he likes the optics of it.

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