HSBC Holdings has operations in 88 countries and its stated mission is to help its commercial and high-net-worth customers do business in all of them.

It's an ambitious agenda, and late last year the company's top brass concluded that the best person to lead this effort in the U.S. would be Irene Dorner, a longtime company executive who was then chief executive of HSBC Bank Malaysia. With her appointment as CEO of HSBC Bank USA, Dorner is among the highest-ranking women at HSBC Holdings, one of the world's largest banking companies.

Of course, the company didn't appoint Dorner to one of its top worldwide posts to make a statement about its commitment to diversity. Dorner's direct boss, Niall Booker, the CEO of HSBC North America Holdings Inc., says Dorner was promoted because she had all the qualifications the search committee was looking for in a CEO, including a broad range of experience within the company, strong relationships with employees, customers and regulators, and "a well-known, well-deserved reputation for integrity."

Still, HSBC Holdings is one of the world's most progressive companies when it comes to the advancement of women and minorities and that's becoming increasingly evident in the U.S.

HSBC created a Global Diversity Committee in 2009 to get senior management more involved in developing a more inclusive work environment. (Dorner now leads the U.S. Diversity Council.) In the U.S., some employees have organized "employee resource groups," including a women's network run by Diane D'Erasmo that has become a model for the company's other women's networks worldwide, says Dorner.

The Make-up

Management/Operating Committee Members: 10
Women Management/Operating Committee Members: 2
Percent women: 20%

Corporate Officers: 15
Women Corporate Officers: 2
Percent women: 13.3%

Power Players
Irene Dorner
, President and CEO
Diane D'Erasmo, EVP, Commercial Banking
Susan Convissar, SVP, Regional Sales Manager
Aimee Daniels, EVP, Regional President
Mayra DiRico, EVP, Regional President
LuAnn Kingston, SVP, Western New York
Tara Latini, SVP, Business Strategy
Suzanne Brienza, EVP, Human Resources
Trudy Dolley, SVP, Business Transformation
Cha Park, SVP, Southern California

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