Cathy Bessant is chief operations and technology officer at Bank of America, and is a member of the company’s executive management team. Since 2010, Bessant has led Global Technology and Operations (GT&O), delivering end-to-end technology and operating services across the company while also overseeing the company’s business continuity and information security through nearly 95,000 employees and contractors in more than 35 countries.
Since joining the bank in 1982, Bessant has held a number of senior leadership roles for the company. She was president, Global Corporate Banking; president, Global Product Solutions and Global Treasury Services; chief marketing officer; president, Consumer Real Estate and Community Development Banking; national Small Business Segment executive; and president of the Florida market.
Bessant serves as executive sponsor for the company’s Disability Advisory Council. She was formerly the executive sponsor for the Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual and Transgender (LGBT) Pride executive board and led the creation of the LGBT Ally program. She was previously named No. 1 among OUTstanding LGBT+ Ally Executives, presented by the Financial Times.
For the third consecutive year, she ranked No. 1 among the “25 Most Powerful Women in Banking” by American Banker. Bessant was named to Barron’s “100 Most Influential Women in U.S. Finance” and she received WaterTechnology’s 2019 Women in Technology and Data Trailblazer Award. She has also appeared on Working Mother magazine’s “50 Most Powerful Working Moms” list.
Active in the community and region, Bessant received the Distinguished Service Award from the University of North Carolina at Charlotte. In addition, she was awarded the North Carolina Order of the Long Leaf Pine, was recognized by the Charlotte Business Journal with the Women in Business Lifetime Achievement Award, and was named to Business NC’s Power 100. She chairs the North Tryon Vision Plan Advisory Committee.
Bessant led the formation of the Council on the Responsible Use of Artificial Intelligence (AI) to address ethical and policy issues related to this rapidly evolving technology. In addition, she is a member of the President’s Council of Advisors on Science and Technology (PCAST).
Bessant serves on the board of directors of Zurich Insurance Group, is an independent member of the USA Field Hockey board of directors, and is on the advisory board for the Ross School of Business at the University of Michigan. As part of a leadership course at Ross, she summited Africa’s Mount Kilimanjaro, the world’s tallest freestanding mountain, in August 2018.