Sallie Krawcheck, the former senior executive at Bank of America Corp. (BAC:US) and Citigroup Inc. (C:US), agreed to buy 85 Broads, the global network with 30,000 members that promotes women as business leaders.
Krawcheck is buying the firm from founder Janet Hanson, a former executive of Goldman Sachs Group Inc., according to a statement on the 85 Broads website. Hanson will keep a stake and become chairman emeritus, according to the statement, which didn’t disclose terms.
The deal puts Krawcheck at the head of her own company after stints in the top ranks of the nation’s biggest lenders. Since then, Krawcheck has turned the spotlight on research that shows increased participation by women improves shareholder returns and helps the economy.
“For most of my career, I tried to avoid the topic of being a woman in business, vaguely concerned that talking too much about it would hold me back in some way,” Krawcheck wrote on her LinkedIn page. “But I’ve been thinking about it over the past year ... a lot.” Krawcheck said “the research and business case for the economic advancement of women is so compelling, in a world deeply in need of greater economic prosperity.”
85 Broads, which began on Wall Street and expanded to colleges and universities, arranges networking events for professionals and students, often featuring women with leading roles in their fields. It operates more than 40 regional chapters and campus clubs in at least 130 countries, according to its website. The name is derived from the address of Goldman Sachs’s former New York City headquarters.
Krawcheck, 48, is among corporate leaders advocating for increased involvement for women in executive roles. Sheryl Sandberg, chief operating officer of Facebook Inc. (FB:US), has been promoting her book “Lean In,” which encourages women to expand their roles in the workplace. Warren Buffett, chairman and chief executive officer of Berkshire Hathaway Inc. (A:US), said this month that women need to pursue more recognition for what they accomplish.
Krawcheck has become a regular publisher on LinkedIn Corp. (LNKD:US)’s website, writing about women’s role in finance and lessons she learned from her career on Wall Street.
“She has been spending considerable time over the last year or two really focusing on what’s happening with women,” Hanson said today in a telephone interview. “What I really loved about her more than anything, she’s a straight shooter. Her whole being oozes authenticity.”
Krawcheck was Citigroup’s chief financial officer and head of strategy, and later ran the New York-based bank’s wealth-management division until late 2008, when she was replaced by Michael L. Corbat, who is now CEO.
She joined Charlotte, North Carolina-based Bank of America in August 2009 to run wealth management and oversaw more than 15,000 advisers under the firm’s Merrill Lynch brand. She was ousted amid a management shakeup in September 2011 and granted a $6 million severance package.
In the U.S., women hold 14 percent of executive officer positions and 17 percent of board seats, according to Catalyst Inc., an organization that publishes research on women in business. Companies with more women on the boards have better financial performance than those with fewer women, according to a July 2012 report by Catalyst.
Hanson, 60, left Goldman Sachs after almost 14 years in 1993 and founded the women’s networking firm in 1997.
“It’s time for me to pass the baton to a younger person who has energy,” Hanson said.
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