Why one of the world’s few female bank CEOs decided to step down
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Good morning, Broadsheet readers! Louisville will pay Breonna Taylor’s family $12 million, Michelle Wu runs for mayor in Boston, and a former bank CEO gets a new gig. Have a reflective Wednesday.
– Moving on. The exuberance at Citigroup’s appointment of Jane Fraser as CEO last week underscored how few female leaders are in the banking industry globally. Fraser, of course, will become the first woman chief executive of a big Wall Street bank in February.
Rakefet Russak-Aminoach was one of the sector’s rare female CEOs until June 2019 when she stepped down as CEO of Bank Leumi, Israel’s largest bank by market cap. She’s credited with turning the bank around, leading it to record profitability and market cap and launching its fully-mobile digital bank called Pepper in 2017.
During her seven-year tenure at Leumi, Russak-Aminoach was approached about jobs at European banks and a financial company in New York. But when I talked to her earlier this month, it wasn’t to discuss a new bank CEO gig but instead to learn about Russak-Aminoach’s new role at venture firm Team8, where she’ll lead a new fintech division.
Why did she decide to give up the prestige of being a bank CEO to join a firm that’s just six years old? Russak-Aminoach told me that by working with Pepper, she’d caught the startup bug. “The passion and excitement of building a new thing from scratch is unbelievable to me,” she said. “Starting a new thing and making it really huge is something I’ve never done.”
What’s more, she argues that a good leader knows when to move on. No chief executive “should sit in their chair for dozens of years,” she says.
Today’s Broadsheet was curated by Emma Hinchliffe.
ALSO IN THE HEADLINES
- Settled, but not over. The city of Louisville, Kentucky agreed to pay $12 million to settle the wrongful death lawsuit brought by the family of Breonna Taylor. The settlement also instituted police reforms, including a housing credit program to incentivize officers to live in the areas they serve. Taylor's family is still seeking criminal charges against the officers who killed her. "Her beautiful spirit and personality is working through all of us on the ground, so please continue to say her name: Breonna Taylor," her mother Tamika Palmer said. CNN
- Whistleblower on ICE. Dawn Wooten worked as a licensed practical nurse at an Immigration and Customs Enforcement facility in Georgia. Now, Wooten is a whistleblower; she filed a complaint to the Department of Homeland Security on Monday detailing a high rate of hysterectomies and medical neglect at the ICE facility, where she says "everybody" who sees one particular doctor "has a hysterectomy," including young women who did not request the procedure. The agency said in a statement that the allegations "should be treated with the appropriate skepticism they deserve." CNN
- Press on the brakes. Electric vehicle startup Nikola faces allegations of fraud (the company has denied several of the claims); the report affects General Motors, which previously made a $2 billion deal with Nikola to produce the startup's electric pickup, among other commitments. "We’re a very capable team that has done the appropriate diligence," GM CEO Mary Barra said of the claims. CNBC
- Seeking justice in Rochester. In March, a Black man named Daniel Prude died in Rochester, New York after officers put a hood over his head when he was arrested. Body camera footage brought renewed attention to Prude's death this month, and this week Mayor Lovely Warren fired the city's police chief. Warren says Prude's death "was not taken as seriously as it should have been by those who reviewed the case throughout city government at every level." New York Times
MOVERS AND SHAKERS: SiriusXM promoted president of sales, marketing, and operations Jennifer Witz to CEO. Pinterest hired Marie Claire editor-in-chief Aya Kanai as head of content and editorial partnerships; Marie Claire promoted digital director Sally Holmes as Kanai's successor as EIC. Cook's Country named Toni Tipton-Martin editor-in-chief. Twilio hired PayPal global head of diversity and inclusion Lybra Clemons as chief diversity, inclusion, and belonging officer. Audible hired former president and CEO of the Newark Alliance Aisha Glover as VP of urban innovation. Outreach hired Code42 chief people officer Leslie Pendergrast in the same role.
IN CASE YOU MISSED IT
- Beantown bid. In Boston, city councilor Michelle Wu made official her run for mayor. The progressive seven-year city council member and council president will potentially challenge Mayor Martin Walsh, who hasn't yet announced a run for reelection. Boston Globe
- MP to prison. Charles Elphicke, a former Conservative member of Parliament in the U.K., was sentenced to two years in prison for three counts of sexual assault against two women: his former parliamentary employee and his former nanny. The judge who sentenced Elphicke said the former MP—whose wife Natalie Elphicke now serves in his former seat—is "a sexual predator who used [his] success and respectability as a cover." Elphicke denies the charges and plans to appeal. New York Times
- Reading list. This year's Booker Prize shortlist is the "most diverse ever," featuring debut authors Avni Doshi and Diane Cook as well as novelists Tsitsi Dangarembga and Maaza Mengiste. Guardian
ON MY RADAR
SoulCycle competitor Flywheel files for bankruptcy CNN
Where does fashion go from here? Elle
Emily Ratajkowski: Buying myself back The Cut
How women want to fix the police problem Cosmopolitan
-Katherine Legge, captain of the first all-women team competing at Le Mans