Catherine P. 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 through nearly 95,000 employees and contractors in more than 35 countries. 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. She joined the bank as a corporate banker in 1982.
Bessant represents our employees on a number of important topics serving as executive sponsor for the company’s Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual and Transgender (LGBT) Pride executive board, the LGBT Ally program, and the Disability Advisory Council. In 2018, she was named No. 1 among OUTstanding LGBT+ Ally Executives, presented by the Financial Times.
Active in the community and region, Bessant received the 2018 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 and was recognized by the Charlotte Business Journal with the Women in Business Lifetime Achievement Award. She chairs the North Tryon Vision Plan Advisory Committee.
Bessant recently led the formation of The Council on the Responsible Use of Artificial Intelligence (AI). Managed by the Harvard Kennedy School’s Belfer Center for Science and International Affairs, the council will convene the brightest minds
from tech, business, academia and government.
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. Along with Ross School faculty, alumni and students, she summited Africa’s Mount Kilimanjaro, the world’s tallest freestanding mountain, in August of 2018.
For the second year in a row, she is ranked No. 1 among the “25 Most Powerful Women in Banking” by American Banker. She also appears on Working Mother magazine’s “50 Most Powerful Working Moms” list of 2018.