JPMorgan Chase Names Woman as CFO

By Laura ShinLearnVest

Last month we reported on a new study that showed that the more women executives a startup has, the more likely it is to succeed.

It looks like JPMorgan Chase wants to take a page from the playbook of successful startups: Yesterday, the nation’s largest bank named a new chief financial officer yesterday–and guess what? It’s a woman.

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Marianne Lake, 43, is currently the chief financial officer for JPMorgan’s consumer unit. She will now become the sole female executive out of 14 at the company … and one of the most powerful women on Wall Street.

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JPMorgan CEO James Dimon called Ms. Lake “an outstanding choice for this critically important role,” and also told The Wall Street Journal that even though he is conscious of the need for more women at the top levels of the company, Lake’s gender “wasn’t a consideration at all—we were simply looking for the best person for the job.”

The appointment comes in the wake of a European Union law, passed last week, mandating that 40% of corporate boards at public European companies be women. Additionally two studies in the past few months showed that companies with more women on their boards and startups with more female executives perform better than those with fewer women. And let’s not forget: A couple weeks ago, voters elected several women senators, bringing the number of women in next year’s class to a record high.

Just to see how JPMorgan stacks up against competing banks, here is the breakdown of women at the top levels of the nation’s biggest banks and securities firms:

  • JPMorgan Chase: Out of 14 executives, one woman
  • Bank of America: Out of 11 executives, four women
  • Citigroup: Out of 13 executives, no women
  • Wells Fargo: Out of 11 executives, three women
  • Morgan Stanley: Out of 11 executives, one woman

Here’s to more women making it into the top ranks at our biggest banks–and across all industries. It could give a boost to the companies (like JPMorgan, which suffered a multibillion-dollar loss earlier this year). And it might even help close that peskily persistent gender wage gap.

Image credit: Kent Wang/Flickr