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The next CEO of Citi, Jane Fraser—who will become the first woman to head a big Wall Street bank—was interviewed by Fortune’s Claire Zillman on the virtual stage at the Most Powerful Women Summit yesterday, and provided an early look at her priorities for when she assumes the top job in February.
“The priorities will be fairly simple ones. We will be, as you say, in quite challenging times. The critical piece will be saying: What has changed in the world? What is the new normal? What is the future of work? Where will people be working? Digital transformation has been supercharged. What does that mean for business models of the future? There will be quite a lot on the plate.”
Add to that the main course, which will be figuring out how banks make money in an environment of insanely low interest rates and sluggish growth. Reflecting that concern, Citi’s stock has dropped close to 50% since the first of the year. Fraser has broken the glass ceiling, but still faces a challenge in avoiding the glass cliff.
Also on the MPW stage yesterday was the NYSE’s Stacey Cunningham, who said September is now set to be the biggest month for IPOs that “literally, we have ever had.” Topping the list are Palantir and Asana, which both began trading yesterday. Palantir, the government-friendly data mining firm, opened at $10 a share, giving it an amazing $22 billion valuation. Asana, a collaboration software firm founded by Facebook co-founder Dustin Moskovitz, began trading at $27, for a $4.1 billion valuation.
Separately, thanks to MO, PA and SG, who all correctly wrote in to take me to task for missing the most inflammatory quote from Tuesday’s presidential debate: President Trump’s “Proud Boys, stand back and stand by.” I hadn’t fully heard that in the chaos of the debate, and I didn’t immediately recognize its significance. On Wednesday, the President said: “I don’t know who the Proud Boys are. Whoever they are, they need to stand down.” But by that time, the extremist group had been celebrating the President’s acknowledgement on social media for hours.
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