Fortune’s 40 Under 40 includes leaders shaping the future of finance

September 16, 2021, 10:35 AM UTC

Good morning,

The next generation of finance leaders has arrived.

In the next decade, lowering costs, boosting finance’s role in managing data, and “shifting work towards more value-added activities,” are some imperatives for this cohort, according to a November 2020 McKinsey report. The good news is there are already high-performing, next-generation leaders who are up to the challenge of conducting business in a post-pandemic world. 

Fortune recently announced the 40 Under 40 list for 2021, which features executives, creators, rising entrepreneurs, and influencers. Here are five leaders on the list who are influencing the future of finance:

Karin Fronczke, 39, Global Head of Private Equity at Fidelity Investments

Fronczke has been venturing outside of the firm’s traditional investments in public companies. Her team is landing increasingly big deals as Fidelity mutual funds invest in privately-held companies like Reddit and Rivian. Fronczke also took the lead in facilitating the firm’s first private investments in countries like Sweden and India. In addition, her role includes advising startup CEOs and guiding them through the IPO process. Amid the pandemic, Fronczke has focused on boosting the engagement her team, virtually (that might include such activities as a remote wine tasting). Prior to her role at Fidelity Investments, Fronczke was the managing director of equity capital markets at J.P. Morgan. The leader starts her day awakened by her three children. “Usually the kids come running up to my room at sunrise and I let them watch morning cartoons while I check my emails and schedule for the day from my phone,” Fronczke told Fortune.

Lina Khan, 32, Chair, Federal Trade Commission (FTC)

Born in London to Pakistani parents, Khan immigrated to the U.S. at age 11. When she was sworn into office in June, she became the youngest head of the FTC in its 106-year history. In an April hearing, Khan told the Senate that at the FTC she would continue her work to further regulate Big Tech citing a “whole range of potential risks” in the industry. “One that comes up across the board is that the ability to dominate one market gives companies, in some instances, the ability to expand into adjacent markets,” she said. As a Yale University Law student in 2017, Khan wrote a 98-page article for The Yale Law Journal on Amazon’s anticompetitive behavior that garnered much attention. As FTC chair, she has the authority to curb Amazon’s power. The agency’s Division of Financial Practices, which protects consumers from false information and unfair business practices, is also under Khan’s purview.

Zach Kirkhorn, 36, CFO and “Master of Coin” at Tesla

Kirkhorn was promoted to the role as CFO in March 2019. He previously served in various finance positions since joining Tesla in March 2010. A quiet operator, Kirkhorn doesn’t seek the spotlight. But the alum of McKinsey and Microsoft has helped steer a profit surge at Tesla—a balance sheet that’s expanding by billions of dollars. Kirkhorn also led Tesla’s purchase of $1.5 billion in Bitcoin in February. In a Securities and Exchange Commission filing submitted in March, Tesla CEO Elon Musk noted his additional title of “Technoking,” and said Kirkhorn would also be known as “Master of Coin.” Needless to say, the CFO is well-versed in cryptocurrencies. And, he’s also one of the youngest finance chiefs in the Fortune 500

Akila Raman, 39, COO of Investment Banking Division at Goldman Sachs

Raman, the daughter of Indian and Korean immigrants, started as an intern at the global investment bank in 2003. She spent most of her time with natural resources companies in sectors such as power, metals, and energy. To streamline the workflow of the Goldman investment bankers she oversees, she prioritized using technology and automation. In running the operational strategy of the division, she is focused on international expansion. Raman received advice early in her career to focus on building relationships with mentors and the opportunities afforded. “In my experience who I worked for—and with—has had the greatest impact on my career,” she told Fortune. “The incredible leaders and mentors in the financing and natural resources groups challenged me with stretch assignments and broadened my skill sets through varied experiences.” Raman has paid it forward by spending years mentoring women and people of color at Goldman and across the industry. “Whenever I leave this place and career, that will be a really cool legacy,” she says.

Arianna Simpson, 30, General Partner at Andreessen Horowitz

Simpson is guiding the latest investments in crypto with the venture capital firm’s $2.2 billion fund—the world’s largest. Crypto and its potential, was “the most unique thing I had ever seen in the technology world,” Simpson told Fortune. Prior to her current role, she actually founded an investment fund focused on crypto, Autonomous Partners. She has previously worked in sales and product at Facebook and BitGo, an enterprise security company for crypto. Simpson offers productivity tips: “There’s a time for grinding, and there’s a time for recognizing when you’re no longer being effective. Often a challenging problem feels a lot less insurmountable when you revisit it with fresh eyes the following morning. Recognize when it’s time to log off, give yourself time to think about something else, or just recharge and return to the work and the problem fresh.”

Here’s to the future!

See you tomorrow.

Sheryl Estrada

Big deal

At the start of National Hispanic Heritage Month, Bank of America has released a new study taking a look at how Hispanic-owned small businesses nationwide are having an increased focus on the needs of employees. To keep employees on staff amid the pandemic, 61% of Hispanic entrepreneurs surveyed cut their own pay. And 84% have changed, or plan to change, protocols for employee wellness and benefits. For example, 51% made flexible work schedules an option, and 44% allow remote work. The study also found that over the next 12 months, 81% expect revenue to increase, 74% believe their local economy will improve, and 43% plan to hire new workers. The research included 300 interviews of Hispanic small business owners. 

 Courtesy of Bank of America

Going deeper

Roku, Inc., an entertainment streaming company, released The Season of Streaming Report 2021 in partnership with The Harris Poll on September 15. About 72% of holiday shoppers said they're confident the economy will improve in the next 12 months. And 36% of shoppers plan on spending more this year, an increase from the past three years, according to the report. Consumers expect to spend $937 on holiday purchases, which is a 5% increase year-over-year, the report found. Most shoppers (57%) plan to primarily shop online. The data is based on a survey of more than 2,000 U.S. adults.


Robert R. Krakowiak was named CFO at Vroom, Inc., an e-commerce platform for buying and selling used vehicles, effective September 13. Krakowiak succeeds David K. Jones in his role of CFO. Jones will remain as "a non-executive employee" at the company through November 30, 2021 to facilitate the transition, according to Vroom. Krakowiak previously served as CFO at Stoneridge Corporation. He also held roles in finance and investor relations at Visteon Corporation and Owens Corning. 

Lowell Singer was named CFO at Acrisure, a fintech. Singer joins Acrisure following 14 years with The Walt Disney Company, where he served as SVP of investor relations. Prior to his most recent role with Disney, he worked as an equity research analyst for Cowen and Company, LLC and Robertson Stephens LLC. Singer has also served as a brand manager with Kraft Foods, Inc. He began his career with J.P. Morgan & Co., Inc. as an associate in corporate finance.


"Through the pandemic…the global luxury goods market [shrank] as economic and social considerations have limited access. However, the mainland China market has rebounded post-lockdowns."

—Bruno Lannes, Shanghai partner at Bain, on China's luxury market, as told to Fortune.

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