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Citigroup names Jane Fraser as next CEO, first woman to lead major Wall Street bank

Citigroup CEO Michael Corbat will retire in February, and the firm’s Retail Banking Chief Jane Fraser will succeed him. Yahoo Finance's Melody Hahm weighs in.

Video Transcript

- Time for "Word on the Street" where we check in with our panelists, find out what stories they are watching. Melody, you are watching the big news on Wall Street that a Wall Street bank is finally going to get a female CEO.

MELODY HAHM: Wow, Julie, it is about time. So Citigroup has officially announced that Jane Fraser, 53 years old, who has been working at Citigroup for 16 years, will be taking over after Michael Corbat will be stepping down. He has run the bank since 2012, of course, after stepping in for Vikram Pandit's abrupt departure. He was with the bank for 37 years. We knew that he was going to eventually be leaving, but this comes perhaps two years earlier than originally anticipated.

I want to point out that there was a big testimony with the bank CEOs, with the big bank CEOs, let's recall earlier this year. And Mr. Corbat along with his counterparts were asked, and of course they are all white men, if they were likely to be succeeded by female candidates one day. And no one had actually said yes in that moment. Of course, a couple of days later, JPMorgan Chase shortlisted Marianne Lake and Jennifer Piepszak to one day succeed Jamie Dimon as CEO, and then of course Citi beat everyone to the punch by announcing this move.

It's pretty significant. Julie, I mean, you mentioned earlier in a tweet that there are plenty of asset managers, plenty of smaller firms out there that do have females as their CEO, and the pipeline has been continued to be invested in and developed. But this is pretty monumental in terms of a title shift and an ability to say, hey, let's see how she performs, and there's going to be sort of equal footing by many regards.

I also do want to point out that even outside of the big-bank space, when it comes to the financial world, we saw that Kim Lew, who was formerly of the Carnegie Foundation-- she has actually been appointed the CEO of Columbia's endowment. And more and more women are being placed in those roles. So it's a really exciting time and long overdue.