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Citigroup’s next CEO on climbing the corporate ladder

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Here are three of the week’s top pieces of financial insight, gathered from around the web:

First woman to head major U.S. bank
Citigroup’s next CEO, the first woman to head a major U.S. bank, has been public about the challenges women have to overcome to reach the top of the corporate ladder, said Felix Salmon and Erica Pandey at Axios. Jane Fraser, who Citi announced last week will take over the bank in February, said that she often felt “exhausted” and “guilty” despite being “blessed with a great partner in my husband, who shares the responsibilities fully.” Though Fraser worked part-time while her kids were young, “part-time” at the McKinsey consulting firm meant she could routinely be found “working on her computer in the kitchen at 3 a.m.” Still, her ascent marks progress: Any time spent on the “mommy track” used to disqualify women from the top jobs.

Fraud charges in PPP loan program
The U.S. last week charged 57 people with stealing $175 million from the small-business COVID relief programs, said Aaron Gregg at The Washington Post. Among them was former New York Jets wide receiver Josh Bellamy, who along with 10 associates was “charged with fraudulently accessing $24 million in Payroll Protection Program loan and spending the funds on luxury items at Gucci and Dior and gambling.” Loans from the program were given with little vetting, to speed the delivery of relief. Most PPP fraud cases so far fall into two categories: “people who illegally spent PPP loan funds on themselves, or groups of individuals who coordinated to defraud the program on a massive scale.” One New Jersey attorney who got $9 million in loans allegedly claimed to own businesses with hundreds of employees.

After IPO, Nikola faces tough questions
Just “two days after General Motors announced a $2 billion deal” with high-flying electric-truck startup Nikola, a report from a short seller accused the newly public company of perpetrating an “intricate fraud,” on investors, said Claire Bushey and Peter Campbell at the Financial Times. Among the headline accusations from Hindenburg Research is that Nikola faked a product video “by rolling its Nikola One truck along a downhill stretch of highway, to disguise the fact that the vehicle had no working engine, and filming it to appear it was being driven.” Hindenburg, which makes money if Nikola’s shares fall, also said that it had “extensive evidence” that Nikola’s highly hyped technology was actually bought from another company. The Justice Department has opened an investigation.

This article was first published in the latest issue of The Week magazine. If you want to read more like it, you can try six risk-free issues of the magazine here.



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