Risk Executives on the Move: Wells’ Norton Joining Credit Suisse’s Board
Prominent CRO positions turn over as fintech and crypto ventures strengthen ranks
Friday, April 15, 2022
By Jeffrey Kutler
Amanda (Mandy) Norton, who announced her retirement in January from Wells Fargo & Co. after serving more than three and a half years as chief risk officer, will be joining the Credit Suisse Group board of directors on July 1.
Pending confirmation at the April 29 shareholder meeting, this is one of several changes in the wake of the January resignation of Credit Suisse chairman António Horta-Osório over reported conduct and protocol breaches. He was replaced by Axel Lehmann, whose October 2021 election to the board reflected Horta-Osório’s emphasis on risk oversight at a bank whose losses – such as from Archegos Capital Management – and other management issues brought heightened regulatory scrutiny. Lehmann, a former UBS Group executive and a member of its board’s risk committee, was CRO of Zurich Insurance Group during nearly 20 years with that company.
Announced on March 21, along with Norton’s appointment, was that of Christian Gellerstad, a board member since 2019, as vice chair and lead independent director. And two other non-executive directors: Mirko Bianchi, former UniCredit chief financial officer and wealth management and private banking CEO; and London School of Economics professor Keyu Jin.
“Both Mirko and Mandy bring highly relevant banking, finance and risk experience, with careers spanning more than three decades in globally leading financial institutions,” Lehmann, who has been chairing the Credit Suisse board’s risk committee, said in a statement. “Keyu will further strengthen the board's focus on the APAC growth region and position the board closer to China’s next generation and fintech development.”
At Wells Fargo, which continues to work with regulators to put a sales-practices scandal behind it, Derek Flowers, a 24-year Wells veteran, took over as CRO. That was not the only such handoff in recent months. Brad Hu, for example, after eight years as Citigroup’s CRO, succeeded Andrew Kuritzkes at State Street Corp., effective January 1. Zdenek Turek became Citi’s CRO on February 1; he had been interim CRO and, before that, CEO of Citibank Europe.
At BlackRock, co-founder Ben Golub, CRO since 2009, has stepped into a senior adviser role. Edward Fishwick has been CRO and head of the Risk and Quantitative Analysis Group since late February. He spent the last 15 years as global co-head of the Risk and Quantitative Analysis Group in London.
Roland Chai, who was head of post-trade and group risk officer at Hong Kong Exchanges & Clearing before becoming Nasdaq’s CRO in 2020, was named executive vice president and head of Nasdaq’s Market Infrastructure Technology business, effective April 4. Chai and Jamie King, now EVP and head of theAnti-Financial Crime business, have taken on the responsibilities of EVP for market technology Lars Ottersgård, who is retiring. John Zecca, Nasdaq’s chief legal and regulatory officer, is managing the risk team and is now chief legal, risk and regulatory officer.
In February, Australia’s Westpac Group announced a restructuring in which the roles of chief risk officer and group executive of financial crime, compliance and conduct are combined under Ryan Zanin. Succeeding the executives who were in those roles, respectively David Stephen and Les Vance, Zanin was executive vice president and CRO of Fannie Mae since February 2021, after having served as a director of the U.S. housing finance agency since 2016 and chairing the board’s risk policy and capital committee.
Andrew Brammer, Fannie Mae vice president and single-family chief risk officer, stepped up this month as the firm’s interim CRO.
Zanin was previously president and CEO of the restructuring and strategic ventures group of GE Capital and had CRO titles at Wells Fargo & Co. (International Capital Markets) and Wachovia Corp. (Corporate and Investment Bank).
Westpac CEO Peter King explained, “Two years ago, we elevated financial crime to a dedicated executive role to ensure we had a single focus on improving our performance. While there is still work to do, the time is now right to simplify accountabilities with all of our risk function under the CRO . . . Ryan Zanin will build on the work underway, as we continue to drive our risk transformation.”
Meanwhile, healthy demand for financial, legal, risk and compliance expertise is steering executives more and more into fintech, crypto and other new directions.
The refreshing of Credit Suisse’s board under Axel Lehmann sees the departure of vice chair and lead independent director Severin Schwan, also CEO of pharmaceutical company Roche Group. Also not standing for reelection: Juan Colombas, a former Lloyds Banking Group CRO and COO and current ING Group supervisory board member; and Kai Nargolwala, a Credit Suisse board member since 2008 who headed Bank of America’s Asia wholesale banking group in the 1990s. Colombas will be leaving the board’s audit, compensation and risk committees, Nargolwala the risk committee as well as the compensation committee chairmanship.
Lehmann said he is “extremely pleased” that Christian Gellerstad, a past CEO of Pictet Wealth Management and chair of Credit Suisse’s conduct and financial crime control committee since 2020, “is prepared to accept [appointments as vice chair, lead independent director and compensation committee chair]. Christian’s profound business and financial industry expertise will help him oversee the strategic transformation of the bank, and in particular our growth ambitions for wealth management.”
Other committee chairs in the new alignment include Lehmann (governance and nomination), Mirko Bianchi (audit) and former TSB Bank chairman Richard Meddings (risk). Veteran audit executive Clare Brady will lead the conduct and financial crime control committee. Blythe Masters, the former JPMorgan banker, digital-asset innovator and founding partner of Motive Partners, who joined the Credit Suisse board concurrently with Brady a year ago, is chair of the digital transformation and technology committee.
Director-designate Mandy Norton, Credit Suisse noted, before joining Wells Fargo in 2018 was a risk executive at JPMorgan Chase and Bank of America, and had senior roles at Ally Financial and Chase Manhattan Bank UK. Wells’ current CRO, Derek Flowers, was most recently head of strategic execution and operations, described as “a key role responsible for driving transformation across Wells Fargo and enabling the company to better execute against its risk, control and regulatory priorities.” He was previously chief market risk officer and chief credit officer.
Regulators into Crypto
Scott Bauguess and Michele Korver bring their regulatory backgrounds to Silicon Valley.
Bauguess, a former Securities and Exchange Commission deputy chief economist and deputy director of the SEC Division of Economic Research and Analysis, currently on the faculty of the University of Texas’ McCombs School of Business, has joined the Coinbase cryptocurrency exchange as vice president of global regulatory policy. He revealed in a LinkedIn post that after working with Coinbase on a policy proposal, he “couldn't resist being a permanent part of digital asset transformation.”
Coinbase is one of a number of crypto industry players competing for “legacy” talent, whether for building ecosystem reliability and resiliency, or engaging in government relations and managing risk and compliance. As GovCon Wire reported, prior to Bauguess’ move, Thaya Knight became Coinbase’s senior public policy manager for capital markets regulatory affairs. Knight had been counsel to SEC Commissioners Hester Peirce and Elad Roisman, as well as senior counsel for policy and regulation, Federal Housing Finance Agency, and associate director of financial regulation studies at the Cato Institute.
In July 2021, Michele Korver left the Department of Justice’s Criminal Division, where she was digital currency counsel, to become the first chief digital currency adviser of the Treasury Department’s Financial Crimes Enforcement Network (FinCEN). Eight months later, Anthony Albanese, a former New York State and New York Stock Exchange regulator who is a managing partner of venture capital firm Andreessen Horowitz and COO of a16z Crypto, posted a blog welcoming Korver as the group’s head of regulatory.
“She has spent more than 25 years in government and law enforcement,” Albanese wrote, “starting her career in the Secret Service, and advancing to become one of the foremost federal prosecutors in crypto. She was the U.S. Department of Justice’s first dedicated subject matter expert in cryptocurrency-related prosecutions and forfeitures, and created and managed the Criminal Division’s Digital Currency Initiative . . . She is a highly respected thought leader who’s passionate about the potential and importance of web3 technology, and has an unwavering commitment to weeding out bad actors in the space. She recognizes that regulators need a balanced approach that allows innovation to flourish, so we can build a better internet. In this new role, she’ll be dedicated to making that a reality, working with the builders of these innovative technologies to help them flourish in this still-developing regulatory space.”
In other developments:
-- Morgan McKenney, who rose at Citi to Global Consumer Banking COO, is CEO of the San Francisco-based Provenance Blockchain Foundation, an open-source ecosystem for developing blockchain-based decentralized finance (DeFi) apps. She posted an article on March 1 describing her journey – a sabbatical after 18 years in “exciting roles around the world” with Citi that led to exploring and advising on the “bleeding edge”: “For the first time ever,” McKenney said, “we have the ability to transform the infrastructure layer of financial services, as opposed to continuing to make incremental improvements on the application layer at the top.”
-- Anchorage Digital Bank, which early last year obtained conditional approval of a national trust bank charter, a year later introduced Rachel Anderika as its first chief risk officer. She worked as an examiner in the chartering agency, the Office of the Comptroller of the Currency, and while with the consulting firm Promontory Financial Group helped found its digital assets risk and compliance team.
-- Also in January, Marcus Hughes joined crypto exchange BitMEX as CRO. He has responsibility for regulatory affairs, risk, legal and compliance functions, and reports to CEO Alexander Höptner. Hughes was previously Coinbase’s managing director, Europe and general counsel, international, and earlier worked at Morgan Stanley for more than nine years.
-- Bitfury Group, whose CEO is former acting Comptroller of the Currency Brian Brooks, hired as chief legal officer Jonathan Gould, who was most recently senior deputy comptroller and chief counsel in the Office of the Comptroller of the Currency. Also a former Senate Banking Committee chief counsel, Gould was “sitting at the table for some of the most important policy conversations impacting the crypto industry in the United States,” Brooks said in February. Gould signed a July 2020 OCC interpretive letter on custody services that Brooks said “clarifies that banks can continue satisfying their customers’ needs for safeguarding their most valuable assets, which today for tens of millions of Americans includes cryptocurrency.”
-- “A recognized subject matter expert in financial crimes, BSA/AML, KYC and fintech” is how Binance.US described Tammy Weinrib. As of February she is chief compliance officer, reporting to CRO Sidney Majalya. Weinrib was vice president of Societe Generale’s financial crime compliance department. More recently, the separate, global Binance organization brought on Steven McWhirter of the U.K. Financial Conduct Authority's data, technology and innovation division as director of regulatory policy, and, on the technology side, Microsoft corporate vice president Rohit Wad as chief technology officer.
-- Galaxy Digital Holdings, the trading and investment enterprise founded by former hedge fund manager Michael Novogratz, in its review of 2021 results listed several senior leadership hires, including Felix Cua, chief risk officer; Tom Harrop, head of treasury; and Andrew Taubman, head of operations technology. Cua was previously CRO of Capstone Investment Advisors and, before that, head of risk for Citadel Investment Group’s Global Fixed Income business. Harrop was Credit Suisse’s Americas treasurer and co-head of the Global Liquidity Group. Prior to Credit Suisse, he was a Goldman Sachs managing director. Taubman had been at Bridgewater Associates as head of middle/back office transformation, change management and strategic relationship management. Earlier, he worked in senior operations and technology roles at BNY Mellon and Fidelity Investments.
-- The Crypto Council for Innovation, a Washington group whose members include Andreessen Horowitz, Coinbase, Fidelity Digital Assets and Gemini, appointed former Colorado Republican Senator Cory Gardner as chief strategist of political affairs. (Another former senator, Montana Democrat Max Baucus, became policy and government relations adviser to Binance last year.) Gardner was one of a slate of hires announced April 7 by CCI chief executive Sheila Warren, formerly of the World Economic Forum. Other additions to the team include director of communications Amanda Russo, who was WEF’s head of media content, and, based in Hong Kong, Sean Lee, a fintech and web3 innovator who was CEO of the Algorand Foundation.
-- There are new entries on the respective CVs of two risk management thought leaders, longtime Deloitte partner Edward T. Hida II and University of Maryland Executive-in-Residence and Professor of the Practice Clifford Rossi.
Hida, after more than 30 years leading risk and regulatory practices at Deloitte, is a senior executive adviser of Secura Isaac Group and affiliated technology advisory firm Blue SaaS Solutions. The chairman of both entities, the onetime Federal Deposit Insurance Corp. chairman William Isaac, said in a March 15 email announcement that Hida “is widely considered one of the top risk and regulatory experts in the financial services industry. Our clients could not be in more capable hands.” Hida had seven of the 10 biggest global banks as clients, advised on major M&A transactions, and through 2019 produced Deloitte’s biannual global risk management surveys. “Given the strategic and high-stakes nature of his work, Ed often reported directly to the boards of directors and to bank regulatory bodies, including the Federal Reserve, OCC and FDIC,” Isaac noted.
Rossi, best known for serving as Citigroup’s Consumer Lending division CRO during the 2008-’09 financial crisis and for other senior risk roles at Freddie Mac and Fannie Mae, is on the 16-member Food and Drug Administration Pharmaceutical Science and Clinical Pharmacology Advisory Committee. It is Rossi’s second collaboration with the FDA, according to a March announcement by the University of Maryland’s Robert H. Smith School of Business. His previous research effort “underscores the importance of more focus on drug safety, efficacy and making sure that we have adequate manufacturing quality and technology to do that. Looking especially at how we finance and invest in that area is something that I’m thrilled to have a voice in now,” said Rossi, who is a GARP Risk Intelligence featured columnist and in February hosted a risk leadership webinar with the above-mentioned Westpac CRO Ryan Zanin.