Synchrony Financial - Margaret Keane, President & CEO

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Company: Synchrony Financial, Stamford, CT, USA
Company Description: Synchrony Financial (NYSE: SYF), formerly GE Capital Retail Finance, is one of the nation’s premier consumer financial services companies. Our roots in consumer finance trace back to 1932, and today we are the largest provider of private label credit cards in the United States based on purchase volume and receivables.
Nomination Category: Individual Awards Categories
Nomination Sub Category: Female Executive of the Year – Business Services –More Than 2,500 Employees

Nomination Title: Margaret Keane, President & CEO

Describe for the judges the activities and accomplishments of the nominated executive since the beginning of July last year (up to 525 words):

As President and CEO of Synchrony Financial, Margaret heads one of the premier consumer financial services businesses in the U.S. and the nation’s largest provider of private label credit cards based on purchase volume and receivables.*

Margaret led the company through a major transition beginning in July 2014 with a successful Initial Public Offering (IPO) on the New York Stock Exchange, while growing the business and delivering strong results into 2015.

With the IPO for Synchrony Financial, the former GE Capital Retail Finance business, Margaret’s role evolved from leading a GE Capital business to leading a public company and launching a new brand after being part of an iconic brand – GE – for more than 80 years. In addition to building new partner relationships and extending existing programs with key clients, Margaret engaged with the investor community, an expanded Board of Directors and regulators during the ongoing journey toward separation from GE.

She has worked to fill key leadership roles and areas of expertise needed to function effectively as a fully standalone company, while also overseeing the successful introduction of a new name, logo and brand identity for Synchrony Financial, which included the launch of a national advertising and branding campaign.

Margaret steered Synchrony Financial’s performance in 2014 and 2015 to maintain its industry-leading position. The company delivered strong financial performance in 2014, with net earnings of $2.1 billion, up 7% over 2013. Average active accounts increased 7% and purchase volume was up 10%, over 2013. Loan receivables grew 7% from 2013 to $61 billion and generated an attractive return on assets of 3.2%.

In its most recent quarterly earnings report in July, Synchrony Financial reported a 12% increase in loan receivables and an 11% increase in purchase volume. Net earnings for Q2 2015 increased by $69 million over the same period in 2014.

Margaret also continued to focus on growth and innovation, recognizing that technology is changing how we shop and how retailers engage us in-store, online and via mobile.

Innovation Stations have been added in key Synchrony Financial locations. These are dedicated, in-house resource centers that cultivate ideas for client programs, product pilots, and technological capabilities in the mobile and payments space. Margaret regularly meets with the team to review the latest research and plans, and discuss updates on products and new capabilities currently being developed. This group also serves as an incubator for analytics and loyalty programs and how to effectively integrate them with other strategies.

Her focus on technology, ideation and product development has also led to strategic partnerships, including Synchrony Financial’s investment in LoopPay, a mobile wallet technology later acquired by Samsung Pay, and GPShopper, an innovative mobile platform with in-store, commerce, loyalty, marketing and social features. Margaret’s commitment to innovation ensures our partners can adapt quickly with advanced options.

Recognizing Synchrony Financial employees’ passion to engage with partners and customers, Margaret worked across the business to define shared values, develop a purpose statement and introduce and reinforce them company-wide.

*Source: The Nilson Report (April, 2015, Issue # 1062) - based on 2014 data.

Provide a brief biography of the nominated executive (up to 125 words):

Margaret Keane brings a passion for emerging technology and employee development to her role as President and CEO, both of which have solidified her reputation as a leader in the field.

Margaret became President and CEO of the GE Capital Retail Finance business in 2011. In her 19 years at GE Capital/Synchrony Financial, she held additional leadership roles spanning consumer finance, vendor financial services, operations and quality. She began her career at Citibank, where she provided leadership in Sales, Marketing and Operations over the course of 16 years.

She has been named one of American Banker’s Top 25 Most Powerful Women in Finance” for seven consecutive years. Margaret earned an MBA in Marketing and a Bachelor’s degree in Political Science from St. John’s University.