Submitted May 14, 2015.
For Stacy Cox, Plaintiff - Appellant: Christa D. Binstock, Eric B. Brown, Atwood & Associates, Lincoln, NE.
For First National Bank, Defendant - Appellee doing business as: First National Bank of Omaha: Kathryn Anne Dittrick Heebner, Robert F. Rossiter Jr., Fraser & Stryker, Omaha, NE.
Before WOLLMAN, SMITH, and BENTON, Circuit Judges.
BENTON, Circuit Judge.
Stacy A. Cox sued First National Bank of Omaha for gender discrimination under Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964, after the Bank promoted a male employee over Cox to Senior Vice President of Operations. The district court granted summary judgment to First National. Cox appeals. Having jurisdiction under 28 U.S.C. § 1291, this court affirms.
In spring 2011, First National sought a successor for David S. Downing, the retiring Senior Vice President of Operations. The position had no written job description, but Operations includes at least four areas: loans, liabilities, payments, and risk. First National did not have a formal promotions policy.
First National primarily considered two candidates: Cox and Jon P. Doyle, a male. Cox began at First National in 2008 as Vice President of Loan Operations, reporting directly to Downing. With her previous experience at another bank, she had 21 years of loans experience. She also had experience in liabilities, payments, and risk. In 2010, she led the Operations team planning for a series of bank mergers (completed after she left First National). Cox, an M.B.A., had a graduate degree in banking. Her 2011 performance appraisal rated her " Meets Expectations," noting her strong working relationships with business partners. She also received " Meets Expectations" in 2009.
Doyle began at First National in 2000, originally in the wealth management group. In 2006, he became Vice President of Payment Operations, reporting directly to Downing. Doyle worked in banking for over ten years before joining First National, including participating in trust mergers. He had experience in payments, liabilities, and risk, but not loans. He received " Meets Expectations" in 2011 and " Exceeds Expectations" in 2009.
After deciding to retire, Downing, on his own initiative, created a matrix rating potential candidates on the qualities he determined a senior leader should have. Cox and Doyle were among the highest-rated candidates on the matrix. (The best-rated candidate, a female, opted out of consideration.) Cox and Doyle rated equally in categories " Domain Knowledge," " Maturity," and " Risk." Cox rated higher in one category: " People Management Skills." Doyle rated higher in three categories: " Leadership," " Peer Respect," and " Managerial Acceptance."
First National President Daniel K. O'Neill made the promotion decision. O'Neill did not interview Cox or Doyle, but had one discussion with each before Downing announced retirement. O'Neill did not review their resumes or performance appraisals. He did study Downing's matrix. At the time, only one of 15 executive officers at First National was female, as was one member of the 12-member Board of Directors and one of 18 employees reporting directly to O'Neill. Relying on the matrix and tenure, O'Neill promoted Doyle. Although Cox remained in the same position, O'Neill gave her a raise and increased responsibility.
After resigning in fall 2011, Cox sued First National for gender discrimination. The district court granted ...