Citi CEO Jane Fraser on leading with empathy

Good morning, Broadsheet readers! Oracle CEO Safra Catz is among the top-paid chief executives, Wimbledon ditches its all-white dress code for women, and Citi CEO Jane Fraser reflects on leading with empathy. Enjoy your Wednesday!

– Citi says. Earlier this year, the state of Texas booted Citigroup from its bonds business. Texas’s conservative lawmakers said that Citi “discriminates” against the gun industry—the bank limited its engagement with the sector in 2018 after the Parkland shooting—and prevented Citi from underwriting $3.4 billion in municipal bonds.

Citi CEO Jane Fraser has been level-headed about the fallout of that decision, as she told Fortune CEO Alan Murray in an interview at a Fortune CEO Initiative dinner late last month.

“You focus on what it is your company stands for,” she said. “You focus on what it is that your clients need, and you get on with the day job. [If someone says] you can’t sell our bonds, you then suck it up.”

Fraser’s status as the first woman to lead a major Wall Street bank may help her navigate those moments without going into panic mode. “I’m a Scots woman running an American bank—a global bank,” she says. “So I hope I bring some different things.”

Jane Fraser, Citigroup CEO, speaks to Fortune's Alan Murray at the Fortune CEO Initiative
Citigroup CEO Jane Fraser speaks to Fortune’s Alan Murray at the Fortune CEO Initiative.

Rebecca Greenfield for Fortune

The value of a different perspective became even clearer to Fraser during the pandemic, when all of a sudden she wasn’t the only finance CEO talking about empathy. Fraser had long been comfortable talking about the human side of business. She earned praise for continuing some degree of flexible work after most of Wall Street called workers back to the office full-time, acknowledging that flexible work benefitted women—but then clarified that employees could still be called in for “coaching” if they underperformed while working remotely.

She calls empathy a “hard skill”—not a soft skill. “I see empathy as listening to clients and being in tune with your talent,” she says. “You’ll come up with a competitive advantage in the talent market or you’ll be listening to your clients instead of pushing your idea on them.”

Emma Hinchliffe

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– Pay out. Fox News has agreed to pay Abby Grossberg, a former Tucker Carlson producer, $12 million to settle claims that she experienced workplace discrimination and was forced by the network to give false or misleading testimony in Dominion’s defamation case. She said she’s hopeful the resolution represents a “positive step” for Fox’s “treatment of women and minorities in the workplace.” Associated Press

– Under fire. Three women formerly employed by Sir David Adjaye have accused the celebrated Ghanaian-British architect and his firm of misconduct, from alleged sexual assault and sexual harassment by Adjaye to a toxic work environment. Adjaye, who designed Washington’s National Museum of African American History and Culture, denies claims of sexual misconduct, abuse, or criminal wrongdoing, but apologized for relationships that “blurred the boundaries between my professional and personal lives.” Financial Times

– Making bank. Oracle’s Safra Catz was the only woman among the top 10 highest-paid CEOs last year, according to C-Suite Comp, an executive-pay data firm. She raked in over $125 million in total compensation, landing at No. 6. Median pay for CEOs slipped to $14.5 million in 2022 from $14.7 million the year prior. Wall Street Journal

MOVERS AND SHAKERS: Joanna Abeyie, BBC’s head of creative diversity, is leaving her post to return to her consulting business, Blue Moon.


– No stupid questions. YouTube star and presenter Grace Helbig told fans on Monday that she has breast cancer at age 37. Her “triple positive breast cancer” is “super treatable,” Helbig said, but she urged her fans to get any lumps checked and to “not be afraid to ask a doctor what you might think is a stupid question.” Fortune

– White out. Wimbledon is relaxing its famous all-white dress code this year to ease female tennis players’ period anxiety. “Being on your period on the tour is hard enough, but to wear whites as well isn’t easy,” British player Alicia Barnett said last year. Players can now wear “solid, mid/dark-colored undershorts, provided they are no longer than their shorts or skirt.” The Athletic

– What a run. Veteran ESPN broadcaster Suzy Kolber was among the big names laid off by parent company Disney late last month. Kolber, who was let go alongside Jeff Van Gundy, Jalen Rose, and Steve Young, said she was grateful for her 38-year career: “Longevity for a woman in this business is something I’m especially proud of.” Associated Press

– Sea change. A Netflix political drama called Wave Makers seems to have triggered a real-life tsunami of #MeToo claims in Taiwan. Accusers have waged more than 100 complaints of sexual harassment against public figures in the past month, including 10 against officials in the ruling Democratic Progressive Party. The onslaught of claims seems to signal that victims finally believe they will be taken seriously. NPR


No one is happy about diversity efforts at work Wall Street Journal 

The power of a scarlet suit Financial Times 

Bridget Jones deserved more. We all did New York Times

I survived pregnancy behind bars. Now I’m a prison doula The Marshall Project


“You win and lose in life. You can’t cry when you are losing. You have to get to learning.” 

Venus Williams after her defeat in the first round of Wimbledon

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