SMBC, a member of SMBC Group, appointed Debbie Freer chief operating officer for the Americas on April 1.

“Debbie’s appointment as COO is a natural fit, as she has spearheaded the successful transformation of our business in the Americas division in addition to championing our diversity and inclusion initiatives,” Hirofumi Otsuka, CEO of SMBC Group in the Americas and president and CEO of SMBC Americas Holdings, said. “I am confident she will continue to lead our growth plans for SMBC in the region as well as ensure a relentless focus on our diversity efforts.”

“As COO, I hope to push us further on our journey to become a leading corporate and investment bank and to make our mark here in the Americas with growth, teamwork and client success,” Freer said. “This firm has a rich history and culture that lends itself to deep and meaningful relationships with our clients, and I look forward to building our brand in the region.”

Freer first joined SMBC in April 2019 as chief strategy officer and head of the strategy and transformation department. In that role, she led the establishment of a bank holding company structure and strategic plan, implemented through a transformation program with governance and projects spanning the organization’s three lines of defense.

Before joining SMBC, Freer was global head of custody and fund services product development and transformation at JPMorgan Chase. Her prior positions included senior leadership roles at UBS, RBC, Citibank and Merrill Lynch.