Most Powerful Women in Finance: No. 21, BNP Paribas' Claudine Gallagher
Head of Securities Services for the Americas, BNP Paribas
Claudine Gallagher’s leadership skills have been tested to an unusual degree over the past 18 months.
In the spring of 2018, BNP Paribas had scheduled the migration of 130 people and about $150 billion in assets under administration from Janus Henderson, an acquisition the bank announced in November of 2017 and closed about five months later.
After the integration, her team worked to transform Janus’ historically captive back office into a third-party business line, which required not only new technology, but also a complete overhaul of the operations.
At the same time, the securities services division Gallagher oversees was going through a reorganization. The custody, tax, income processing and settlement teams working in security services were merging with those of the global markets and prime brokerage operations in the United States, Brazil and Colombia. The goal was to create a shared services team on a single platform with pooled resources and expertise.
Though the changes would lower costs, reduce operational risk and ultimately create new career paths for her team, Gallagher had second thoughts about the timing. “The team’s nerves were raw and fatigue was setting in,” she said. “My immediate reaction was to stop the process and push the initiative back one year.”
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After thinking about it for several days, she decided that the team members were stronger than she was giving them credit for. Six months later, Brazil and Colombia had finished the process and the U.S. was underway, said a pleased Gallagher. “It was a tough decision, but I’m glad I made it.”
Gallagher is the only woman to head one of the three businesses that make up BNP Paribas’ corporate and institutional bank in the U.S. She is also one of the few women on the company’s executive board for the Americas.
She is also on the board of the Depository Trust and Clearing Corp.