The first female big-bank CEO in U.S. history is a Scot who has triumphed in the world's most competitive arenas — Goldman Sachs, Harvard Business School, McKinsey, and now Citigroup, where she will become CEO in February.
But the job that pushed Jane Fraser to her very limit was one of the most common in the world: Mom.
In her own words: "Being a mother of young children and having a career is the toughest thing I have ever had to do," she told an internal McKinsey interviewer after she left the consulting firm.
- Fraser talked of being "exhausted" and "guilty" despite being "blessed with a great partner in my husband who shares the responsibilities fully" — and despite officially working only part-time while raising small children.
- Fraser's husband, Alberto Piedra, quit his job as head of global banking at European bank Dresdner Kleinwort in order to support her career.
Between the lines: Fraser's mentor, Lowell Bryan, explained to the Financial Times what "part time" meant at McKinsey: When staying with Fraser and her husband, he would find her working on her computer in the kitchen at 3 a.m.
- Working part-time at McKinsey was "tough," Fraser told CNN. ""You're seeing people who you've managed and you’ve brought into the firm then progressing faster than you."
The big picture: Fraser epitomizes a work-life balance problem that's present at the top levels of any industry — and one that has only been exacerbated by the coronavirus pandemic.
- Working mothers routinely juggle responsibilities and are — either directly or indirectly — punished for it at work.
The bottom line: "You cannot have it all," said Fraser in 2012. "Many things have had to give, personally and professionally."