Catherine Bessant, BBA '82: Winner of the 2018 Alumni Service Award

The University of Michigan’s Stephen M. Ross School of Business is honored to present Catherine P. Bessant, BBA ’82, with the 2018 Bert F. Wertman Alumni Service Award. 
 
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) and is responsible for delivering end-to-end technology and operating services across the company through nearly 95,000 employees and contractors in more than 35 countries. 

GT&O provides the platforms and fulfillment services that enable the company’s consumer banking, wealth management, commercial banking, treasury services, sales and trading, and investment banking businesses, as well as risk management, finance and other critical support functions. Bessant’s team also oversees the company’s business continuity and information security strategies and policies. 

Bessant has held a number of senior leadership roles for the company. Most recently, she was president of Global Corporate Banking. Previously, she was president of Global Product Solutions and Global Treasury Services; chief marketing officer; president of 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 the company on a number of important topics, including diversity and inclusion, serving as executive sponsor for the company’s Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual and Transgender (LGBT) Pride executive board and the LGBT Ally program and executive management team sponsor of the company’s disability advocacy initiatives. 

Active in the community, Bessant was awarded the Order of the Long Leaf Pine for her civic and business contributions to the State of North Carolina, and received the Women in Business Lifetime Achievement Award from the Charlotte Business Journal. She serves as chairperson of the North Tryon Vision Plan Advisory Committee. 

She serves on the board of directors of Zurich Insurance Group and Florida Blue, formerly Blue Cross and Blue Shield of Florida. She also sits on the board of trustees for the University of North Carolina at Charlotte, and on the advisory board for the Ross School of Business at the University of Michigan. 

Bessant is ranked No. 1 on Institutional Investor magazine’s annual Tech 50 list of financial technology leaders recognized for their achievements and innovation, and No. 3 among American Banker’s “25 Most Powerful Women in Banking.” She appears on Working Mother magazine’s “50 Most Powerful Working Moms” list of 2017.


About the Award

Established in 1989, this award recognizes an alumnus or alumna of the business school for outstanding service to the school and/or to the university. The award was established in honor of Bert F. Wertman, who served for more than 60 years as president of the Class of 1928. Through his leadership and caring, the class remained a cohesive and vital group and held a record number of continuous reunions.

Previous Award Winners

2017 Robert Neary, BBA 1955

2016 David Carson, BBA 1955

2015 David Parent MBA 1995

2014 Michael & Nancy McLelland MBA 1979, BS 1975 & MBA 1979

2013 Jeffrey Gelfand BBA 1988

2012 Yehuda Cohen MBA 1983 

2011 Ralph Johnson MBA 1992

2010 Elizabeth D. Black MBA 1987

2009 Philippe Prufer MBA 1988

2008 John C. Morley MBA 1958

2007 Daniel Hennessey MBA 1981

2006 William Hall MBA 1967, PhD 1969

2005 Tom Jones BBA 1968, MBA 1971

2004 Cecil Shepherd MBA 2000

2003 Roslyn Braeman Payne BBA 1968

2002 Michael R. Hallman BBA 1966, MBA 1967

2001 Thomas Porter MBA 1967

2001 Mary Campbell MBA 1979

2000 Richard H. Rogel BBA 1970

1999 Eva Chang MBA 1993

1998 Bonnie R. Proctor AB 1970, MBA 1974

1997 Bruce L. Cook BBA 1950, MBA 1951

1996 John F. McCarthy ABED 1949, MBA 1951

1995 Frank T. Westover BBA 1961, MBA 1962

1994 No Award Given

1993 Sharon Reed Walker BBA 1974, MBA 1981

1992 William T. Dobson AB 1942, MBA 1948

1991 Gary T. Walther BSE 1960, MBA 1963

1990 Wilbur K. Pierpont MBA 1938, PhD 1942

1989 John R. Edman BBA 1950, MBA 1951