New Citi CEO Jane Fraser unveils net-zero targets on first day at the helm

Citigroup chief executive Jane Fraser has used her first day at the helm of the US bank to unveil ambitious new plans to overhaul its environmental targets.

The bank is aiming to become net zero by 2050 by both changing its own operations and reducing financing for carbon intensive sectors, she said in a memo to staff seen by Financial News.

Fraser is now officially the first woman to lead a major Wall Street bank after taking the reins from Michael Corbat on 1 March, after her appointment was announced in September. She told employees in a memo that the bank was committing to net zero greenhouse gas emissions by 2050″.

“I am proud to make this commitment on my first day as CEO of Citi,” she added.

In July, Citi said it was committing to financing $250bn in climate initiatives over the next five years – more than double the $100bn it raised in the previous five years. Citi is aiming to make its own operations net zero of greenhouse emissions by 2030.

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Large banks have rolled out new policies to bolster their environmental credentials over the past 12 months in a bid to overhaul their businesses to support the goals of the Paris Climate Treaty. JPMorgan said in November that it was moving its investments to companies that have either achieved or pledged to be net zero by 2050. HSBC pledged in October to shift $1trn towards green financing initiatives to help achieve Paris goals.

“Net zero means rethinking our business and helping our clients rethink theirs. For banks, what some don’t realize is that net zero includes not just our own operations but also our core business impacts – in other words, our financing,” Fraser said in the memo. Citi will unveil more details on its net zero targets within the next year.

Corbat stepped down from Citi on 26 February after more than eight years in charge. In a parting note to employees, he said Citi had its “best days ahead” but said that the banking sector was rapidly evolving.

“The world of banking is quickly changing, and it is being defined by consumers who want financial services to be simpler, smarter and more personal and to operate at the speed of their increasingly digital lives,” he said.

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Fraser has made some initial moves to shake-up Citigroup before taking the reins. In February she unveiled a series of new appointments aimed at overhauling its controls environment including naming Zdenek Turek as chief risk officer. Citi is set to change its operations and controls environment after being hit by a series of fines last year by UK and US regulators for a series of lapses, which led to a reduction in bonus payments for its executives.

In January, Fraser unveiled a push into global wealth management in a new unit that will combine its private bank and its consumer wealth organisation. “We are seeing once-in-a-generation wealth creation in many parts of the world, particularly Asia. Citi has both the opportunity and the ambition to lead our industry in wealth management,” she wrote with Corbat.

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