6. Rilla Delorier
Chief Marketing Officer, Suntrust Banks
Rilla Delorier and the marketing team at SunTrust Banks have been putting up strong customer-service scores for several years now. In the last year, all that goodwill translated into tangible gains in market share, as customer loyalty increased across the company's consumer, middle-market, and commercial banking lines of business.
Much of Delorier's recent work has focused on replacing revenue lost to regulatory changes. Last year she steered a strategic projects team that identified $300 million in new revenue opportunities and renegotiated a co-branded credit card deal with Delta to improve on the economics for SunTrust. In addition, she rolled out a new checking account lineup and withdrew a debit rewards program with minimal disruption to the business. Delorier also accelerated the installation of new technology that gives employees a consistent view of client information across accounts and channels, bringing it live in four months versus 18 months so that it would be there during the checking account conversion process.
7. Bita Ardalan
Executive Vice President, Union Bank
In 2011, Union Bank created a National Specialized Lending Group, merging a sleepy, 35-year-old commercial finance business with niche lending teams in the environmental services and fund finance sectors. As president of the new division, Ardalan revived the commercial finance group, overhauling its management structure; she also quickly added three more specialties to the group-nonprofits, healthcare finance, and aerospace and defense-and already is evaluating additional prospects.
Ardalan joined Union Bank in 1986 as a management trainee. She knows the company's home territory well, having served as market president for Los Angeles commercial banking before her current assignment. But in her new role, she is concentrating on building a national profile for the company. More than 75 percent of the NSLG's new relationships have come from outside Union Bank's traditional West Coast footprint.
8. Deborah Hopkins
Chief Innovation Officer And Chairman Of Venture Capital Initiatives, Citigroup
Firm in the belief that "innovation is a repeatable activity that can be taught," Deborah Hopkins has a three-pronged approach to getting Citigroup back on the cutting edge-embedding the appetite, and the capacity, for innovation into the corporate culture; prototyping new businesses; and exploring "disruptive" ideas and fresh technology through both strategic equity investments and the in-house development of new ventures. Her group met with more than 600 start-ups last year, resulting in 13 direct investments by Citi Ventures.
Hopkins, a former CFO for Boeing and for Lucent Technologies, has been with Citi since 2003. After roles leading corporate strategy, mergers and acquisitions, and operations and technology, she took the innovation job and relocated to Palo Alto, Calif. (Her group also has offices also in New York, Shanghai and Singapore.) A side benefit to her Silicon Valley base: she helped Citi into some big IPOs, while bringing products and service offerings of these newly public companies into Citi.
9. Caryl Athanasiu
EVP And Chief Operational Risk Officer, Wells Fargo
With the dangers of credit risk and market risk pretty well known by now, regulators and bankers alike are focusing a lot more attention on operational risk. That's significantly upped the profile of Caryl Athanasiu. She runs the group tasked with setting risk parameters for the company and ensuring operational compliance with Basel rules, the stress tests and living will requirements. Athanasiu also is personally overseeing Wells Fargo's performance under the residential mortgage servicing consent orders with the OCC and Federal Reserve, as well as the settlement reached this spring with the Justice Department and various state attorneys general.
Under Athanasiu, Wells established a Regulatory Change Management Office, responsible for providing input into the rulemaking process and implementing final requirements. It also combined the handling of anti-money laundering efforts, sanctions, fraud and customer due diligence into a Financial Crimes Risk Management Group, to better leverage customer and transaction data. With Wells since 1985, Athanasiu's experience includes roles in treasury management, wholesale services, corporate banking and strategic planning. She chairs the company's Enterprise Risk Management Committee and sits on its Ethics Committee and Consumer Council. She also is a member of committees overseeing reputation management, Sarbanes-Oxley compliance and large financial transactions.
Athanasiu sits on the advisory board of Horizons Foundation, a social justice philanthropy serving the gay, lesbian, bisexual and transgendered communities. She also is involved with the Redwood City Educational Foundation and helped the group, which supports elementary school students from low-income, immigrant families, to double its fundraising and move from an all-volunteer model to an organization with paid staff.
10. Cecilia "Cece" Stewart
President, U.S. Consumer And Commercial Banking, Citigroup
After joining Citi in January 2011, Cece Stewart crisscrossed the country, visiting staff in numerous markets where, as she puts it, "people hadn't seen someone who ran the whole U.S. market before." That was just one sign of the underinvestment she'd have to overcome to get Citi's retail and small business banking back on track. Since then she has instituted regular calls with branch managers and commercial bankers and armed her retail team with a "book of business" tool, similar to the system that commercial bankers typically use to organize and tier their client base.
Stewart, a 30-year Wachovia veteran and past chair of the Consumer Bankers Association, also led the North American implementation of technology allowing for a 360-degree view of client relationships across channels and product lines.
Citi still has a long way to go to redefine its U.S. retail strategy, which came to be neglected during the global supermarket era. But Stewart, who spent two years at Morgan Stanley before landing at Citi, has started breathing new life into the operation with key hires including a new president of Citigold, which is aimed at affluent customers, and a new head of consumer and small business banking products. She also appointed 13 market presidents, installed regional presidents in the eastern and central portions of the country and converted about 550 full-time equivalent positions from the back office to the front lines, where they now contribute to revenue production and client service.