From cryptocurrencies to AI Investing, technology is transforming financial markets and investor behavior at an unprecedented rate. A vital question for the stability of markets is whether our regulatory regime can keep up. We saw during the financial crisis a decade ago how outdated regulations can struggle to effectively protect against crises; ten years on, what can policymakers and the private sector do to ensure that the system is prepared for the next one?
Cathy Bessant serves as vice chair and head of Global Strategy at Bank of America, and is a member of the company’s executive management team.
In this role, Cathy is responsible for working with our European boards and focused on our global integrated strategy, governance, and client and regulator engagement. She will be based in Paris and provide leadership within and beyond our European presence.
Bessant most recently served as chief operations and technology officer from 2010-2021, responsible for delivering end-to-end technology and operating services across the company through a team of 95,000 people in over 35 countries, with oversight of the company’s global information security efforts.
Since joining the bank in 1982, Bessant has held a number of senior leadership roles. She was president, Global Corporate Banking; president, Global Product Solutions and Global Treasury Services; chief marketing officer; president, Consumer Real Estate and Community Development Banking; national Small Business Segment executive; and president of the Florida market.
Bessant serves as executive sponsor for the company’s Disability Advisory Council. She was formerly the executive sponsor for the Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual and Transgender (LGBT) Pride executive board and led the creation of the LGBT Ally program. She was previously named No. 1 among OUTstanding LGBT+ Ally Executives, presented by the Financial Times.
After ranking No. 1 for three consecutive years, Bessant was inducted into the “25 Most Powerful Women in Banking” Hall of Fame by American Banker in 2020. Bessant was named to Barron’s “100 Most Influential Women in U.S. Finance” and she received WatersTechnology’s 2019 Women in Technology and Data Trailblazer Award. She has also appeared on Working Mother magazine’s “50 Most Powerful Working Moms” list.
Active in the community and region, Bessant received the Distinguished Service Award from the University of North Carolina at Charlotte. In addition, she was awarded the North Carolina Order of the Long Leaf Pine, was recognized by the Charlotte Business Journal with the Women in Business Lifetime Achievement Award, and was named to Business NC’s Power 100. She chairs the North Tryon Vision Plan Advisory Committee and is co-chair of the Charlotte-Mecklenburg Housing & Homelessness Strategy.
Bessant serves on the board of directors of Zurich Insurance Group, serves as chair of the USA Field Hockey board of directors, is on the board of trustees for the Urban Institute, and is on the advisory board for the Ross School of Business at the University of Michigan. As part of a leadership course at Ross, she summited Africa’s Mount Kilimanjaro, the world’s tallest freestanding mountain, in 2018.
Wilbur L. Ross, Jr. was sworn in by Vice President Mike Pence as the 39th Secretary of Commerce on February 28, 2017. Secretary Ross is the principal voice of business in the Trump Administration, ensuring that U.S. entrepreneurs and businesses have the tools they need to create jobs and economic opportunity.
Secretary Ross is the former Chairman and Chief Strategy Officer of WL Ross & Co. LLC and has over 55 years of investment banking and private equity experience. He has restructured over $400 billion of assets in the airline, apparel, auto parts, banking, beverage, chemical, credit card, electric utility, food service, furniture, gypsum, homebuilding, insurance, marine transport, mortgage origination and servicing, oil and gas, railcar manufacturing and leasing, real estate, restaurant, shipyard, steel, textile and trucking industries. Secretary Ross has been chairman or lead director of more than 100 companies operating in more than 20 different countries.
Named by Bloomberg Markets as one of the 50 most influential people in global finance, Secretary Ross is the only person elected to both the Private Equity Hall of Fame and the Turnaround Management Hall of Fame. He previously served as privatization adviser to New York City Mayor Rudy Giuliani and was appointed by President Bill Clinton to the board of the U.S.-Russia Investment Fund. President Kim Dae-jung awarded Secretary Ross a medal for helping South Korea during its financial crisis and, in November 2014, the Emperor of Japan awarded him the Order of the Rising Sun, Gold and Silver Star.
As a philanthropist, Secretary Ross has served as Chairman of the Japan Society, Trustee of the Brookings Institution and Chairman of its Economic Studies Council, International Counsel Member of the Musée des Arts Décoratifs in Paris, Trustee of the Blenheim Foundation, President of the American Friends of the Rene Magritte Museum in Brussels and Director of the Palm Beach Civic Association. He also was an Advisory Board Member of Yale University School of Management.
Secretary Ross is a graduate of Yale University and Harvard Business School (with distinction). He and his wife Hilary Geary Ross have four children, Jessica Ross, Amanda Ross, Ted Geary and Jack Geary.
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