Irene Dorner
Group Managing Director, HSBC Holdings; president and CEO, HSBC USA; director, HSBC North america holdings and hsbc bank USA

Irene Dorner, our No. 1 Most Powerful Woman in Banking in 2012, has seen her stock rise internally at HSBC, having been appointed in February as a group managing director of HSBC Holdings and as a member of the HSBC Group Management Board, which consists of 13 senior leaders who share responsibility for the daily operations of the company globally.

But it's been a tough go for the HSBC USA subsidiary she oversees, which got slammed in December with the harshest deferred prosecution agreement ever for a financial firm: $1.92 billion in penalties for violating anti-money laundering regulations.

Dorner, a Brit charged in 2010 with helping get the U.S. operation running smoothly again, has navigated the regulatory blows with her own credibility intact and positioned the company as one that is aggressively trying to correct its shortcomings. She enacted a risk review of all U.S. customers that resulted in HSBC exiting several hundred correspondent banking relationships. She also is in charge of implementing a more rigorous Know Your Customer program at HSBC USA and co-chairs an initiative to apply similar improvements across all 74 countries where HSBC operates. Mending the company's reputation with regulators and customers could take years, but Dorner appears to be making progress, having already earned praise from the U.S. Justice Department for the cultural changes she's trying to implement.

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