With the hire, TIAA is now the first Fortune 500 company to have two Black CEOs in a row.
At JPMorgan Chase, Duckett has led a banking network with more than $600 billion in deposits, 4,900 branches and over 40,000 employees.
“Thasunda is widely recognized as an exceptionally dynamic and inspirational leader,” Ronald Thompson, TIAA board of trustees’ chairman said in a statement. “She brings invaluable experience leading and growing large, complex businesses, setting and executing strategy, improving client experience and attracting and developing talent.”
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Ferguson, a former vice chairman of the Federal Reserve, will retire after 13 years at TIAA in May. He will stay on in an advisory role for Duckett, the company said.
“I am very grateful and heartened that we have found a leader who is as inspired by our mission as I have been ever since I had the great fortune to join this amazing company almost 13 years ago,” Ferguson said.
Duckett began her career at Fannie Mae, leading affordable housing initiatives for people of color. She holds a B.A. in finance and marketing from the University of Houston and an MBA from the Hankamer School of Business at Baylor University.
One of Duckett’s key initiatives at Chase’s consumer division was undertaking the bank’s first major branch expansion in 10 years, with the ultimate goal of adding 400 new branches in 20 new markets over five years.
She also held the title of executive sponsor of JPMorgan Chase’s Advancing Black Pathways program, an initiative aimed at helping Black Americans close historical achievement gaps in wealth creation, educational outcomes and career success.
Over the last year, Duckett has run point on Chase’s focus on communities disproportionately affected by COVID-19. That led to her becoming Chase’s executive sponsor of the bank’s Fellowship Initiative, which offers young men of color academic and social support.
JPMorgan co-president Gordon Smith said on Thursday that Duckett’s successor as head of consumer-banking would be named shortly.
TIAA, which manages pensions on behalf of colleges, healthcare networks and nonprofits, had $1.3 trillion in assets under management as of Dec. 31, though it is far less active in the mortgage space than JPMorgan Chase.
“Thasunda’s dedication to putting people first – clients and colleagues – ensures that TIAA will continue to create lifetime income for millions of people working in higher education, healthcare, government, the arts and other nonprofit sectors,” said James Chambers, TIAA board of trustees chairman-elect.
Duckett, who has talked extensively about the need to close the wealth gap between white and Black Americans, expressed enthusiasm for the new role.
“I often think about the day my father asked me to help him plan his retirement, and I had to tell him, ‘Dad, your pension is not enough,’” Duckett said. “Now, thanks to his work and sacrifices and the support of many others who have guided me throughout my life and career, I am blessed to join TIAA.”
TIAA has paid out over $500 billion of lifetime income and other benefits since its founding in 1918.
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