Citigroup executive Jane Fraser will become the first woman to lead a Wall Street bank.
Fraser, who is currently in charge of Citi's consumer bank,will takeover from Michael Corbat in February 2021. Corbat plans to retire after 37 years at the bank.
Ms Fraser, who is a Cambridge graduate, began her career at Goldman Sachs in London.She has worked at Citi for 16 years, serving in her current role since 2019. She oversees business in 19 countries and previously led its Latin America division.
"I have worked with Jane for many years and am proud to have her succeed me," Corbat said in a statement. "With her leadership, experience and values, I know she will make an outstanding CEO."
Seen as a rising star, she was recently considered for the role of chief executive at Wells Fargo, another top US bank.
Mike Mayo, banking analyst at Wells Fargo, told CNN Business: "Citigroup is leading by example by adding diversity to the top of the firm when our country is crying out for this more than ever before. History has been made today."
Ms Fraser joins a small group of women who have broken through to the top ranks of major financial firms.
Among them are Alison Rose, who became the first woman to head a major British bank when she was appointed chief executive of Royal Bank of Scotland - now NatWest group - last year.
Last year she received $12.5m in salary and bonuses plus a one-off $12.5m as she was promoted to the role of president.
The bank explained that the one-off award was "in support of leadership continuity and management succession planning".
Born in St Andrews, Scotland, she has degrees from Harvard Business School and Cambridge University. The 53-year-old moved to the US because of the opportunities she saw for women there and spoken about confronting machismo as a female executive in Latin America.
A married mum of two, she has also addressed work-life balance, telling broadcaster CNN in 2014: "You cannot have it all at the same time. You can have it all, spread over decades. I think of my life in different chunks. When the kids were little, I needed to be around more, but it's different now."
Citi, together with other US banking giants, has been counting the cost of the coronavirus crisis on the economy - in July setting aside $7.9bn to cover the cost of bad loans.
The bank has lost one-third of its market value this year, lagging not just the Standard Poor (S&P) 500 but rivals including JP Morgan and Bank of America.