If you were fooled by Cool Britannia, don't be: there may still be no greater citadel spun from class consciousness and old-boy networking than the City of London. For Clara Furse to have navigated this maze and take the top job at the London Stock Exchange-and have come through the world of futures trading and a successful stint at a Swiss bank to get there-is a pretty amazing achievement.

Since taking the top post at one of the largest and influential exchanges in the world, at a time when London is vying to become the financial capital of the world, Furse has been most influential playing defense. She's fended off a number of runs at the LSE, including from the Deutsche Borse, Paris, Sydney, and the Middle East, and made efforts to keep the exchange as hunter rather than prey.

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