Kedia brings diverse worldview to her work

December 21, 2018 | GET MORE : Ethics

Share Article:

Share on Facebook Share on Twitter Share on LinkedIn

U.S. Bank executive is working to promote diversity and inclusion in banking.

Gunjan Kedia brings an impressive résumé to her role as vice chairman of U.S. Bank’s Wealth Management & Investment Services division. In her more than 20 years in financial services, she has held leadership positions at several global financial institutions and worked in exotic places like Botswana and Jordan. 

But it’s something less tangible that Kedia points to as a cornerstone of her growth.

“My success comes less from what I know and more from what I ask and learn from others,” she said. “The ultimate compliment to me is for someone to say, ‘Drop her into anything and she will find her feet and run with it.’”

Kedia’s holistic view of business helps her make connections between client values and bank products and services, increasing trust and strengthening the bond between bankers and clients. To her, the ability to make those connections is really the future of financial services.

“The last decade has been transformative in what consumers have come to expect from us,” she said. “Ever since customers have had the ability to click on something at midnight on Amazon, they want to do business when, where and how they want to. We need to provide a customer-focused, seamless experience for them.”

One of Kedia’s biggest passions is helping increase diversity and inclusion in financial services to help bring different worldviews and ideas to the table. Even though the financial services sector has made significant progress around women and diversity in recent years, Kedia believes there’s more to do.

“We have done so much around diversity at the bank; it’s exciting,” she said. “But something I’ve been asking myself is whether banking is serving women clients. We need to create an industry and an experience that is friendlier to women.”

From hiring and promoting more women in her business line to piloting programs focused on holding wealth conversations with children, Kedia is leading the way to make bank services more appealing to women. 

In addition, U.S. Bank’s focus on innovation and the customer experience is creating leading-edge changes in the other half of her job – Investment Services. From robotics to blockchain and artificial intelligence, technology is creating “beautiful connections” in capital markets, she said.

“We do a lot of the processing that makes capital markets work. It is very real and very now – we move $11 trillion in cash every year,” Kedia said.

U.S. Bank named Kedia vice chairman of Wealth Management and Investment Services in December 2016, reporting directly to Andy Cecere, chairman, president and CEO. U.S. Bancorp Wealth Management provides retirement and financial planning, investment management, trust and fiduciary services and private banking. The Investment Services team’s work includes corporate trusts, trustee services and mutual fund strategies, among many others.

Before coming to the bank, Kedia was most recently an executive vice president and Management Committee member at State Street in Boston, where she led the core investment servicing business in the Americas.

She also had leadership roles at Bank of New York Mellon, McKinsey & Co. and worked as an associate at PricewaterhouseCoopers (PwC). 

By her side throughout her career has been her husband, Sridhar Tayur, the Ford Distinguished Research Chair and Professor of Operations Management at the Tepper School of Business, Carnegie Mellon University. He’s founded two companies, been a consultant to several Fortune 500 companies, and been recognized globally for his work in operations management.

Her son Ashwin, 15, is the president of his robotics team and Kedia is convinced he will grow up to be an engineer. Son Rohan, 13, is more excited by the arts and cooking. 

She and her husband both serve on several charitable boards, and spend personal time volunteering. Charitable work, combined with two such distinguished and busy careers – and two children – has made their lives “a little crazy,” Kedia admits.

In the rare quiet moments, she says they “watch a lot of movies. And we’re big travelers. We’ve recently traveled to Italy and Spain … and we go to India every year. We want our children to have seen a lot of the world by the time they’re adults.”

Despite the difficulty sometimes in juggling career and family, what keeps Kedia energized is “remembering the power of banking to completely change people’s lives,” she said. “With all the Hollywood portrayals of Wall Street and banking, we have forgotten the basics of banks. Think about that first small loan you give a business to help it get off the ground. The more we talk about that, the more people will be attracted to banking.”

A native of India, Kedia earned her MBA in Finance, with distinction, from Carnegie Mellon University and her bachelor of science degree in Engineering from the Delhi School of Engineering in India. She was named to American Banker’s Most Powerful Women in Finance in 2018, and received the 2018 Carnegie Mellon University Alumni Achievement Award. She serves on U.S. Bancorp’s Managing Committee, its most senior leadership group, helping guide the company’s goals and strategies. 

Written by Heather Draper of U.S. Bank.