We all know Wall Street is a boys’ club, but Citigroup just took it to a new level. Chief Executive Michael Corbat announced a long list of promotions and executive changes at Citigroup on Monday and not a single woman made the list. The only woman named in Corbat’s 800-word memo was Sara Wechter, his new chief of staff, who held the same role for Chairman Michael O’Neill. But All 13 of the executives now reporting directly to Corbat are men.
This is not to say there are zero female executives in the whole company, but the number is small and none of them report directly to the CEO. As Kevin Roose of New York Magazine wrote, “It’s starting to look like a White House advisory meeting over there.”
This is not a good move for Citigroup, as it been arough couple of years for the bank in terms of negative press. Steven Eckhaus, a partner at Katten Muchin Rosenman LLP and a Wall Street compensation advisor, told American Banker, “When something like this happens, the board will pay attention,” says Eckhaus. “I’m sure the board and human resources and the upper level of the C-suite will look into why this is.”
Promoting more women could have been a way to stand out from the pack. Women only account for only 2.7% of the chief executives in the financial industry, and 16.8% of the executive officers in the U.S. According to the MSCI World Index, finance is the most lopsided industry when it comes to appointing women as directors and promoting them to management positions, according to data compiled by Bloomberg. The index shows how banks, insurers and asset managers in the index of stocks in 24 markets have a disproportionately low percentage of female board members compared with employees, 51% of whom are women. Finance also scores lowest in matching the percentages of women workers and managers.
It’s “reprehensible for an industry to have a high level of women employees and a low level of women in management and on the board,” said Joe Keefe, chief executive officer of Portsmouth, New Hampshire-based Pax World Management LLC and chairman of the nonprofit Women Thrive Worldwide in an interview with Bloomberg. “It is evidence of failure to hire, to promote, to retain and to mentor the women.”