Clara Furse

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Clara Furse
Clarafurse.jpg
Occupation chairperson
Employer HSBC UK
Location London, UK
Website www.hsbc.com

Dame Clara Furse is a Dame Commander of the British Empire financial services professional and exchange executive who currently serves as the chairman of HSBC UK. She joined the bank in that role in April 2017, when the UK retail bank was being separated from HSBC's investment banking division due to regulatory changes.[1]

Furse previously served as CEO of the London Stock Exchange and deputy chairman of the London International Financial Futures Exchange (LIFFE), the UK's first financial futures exchange. Furse was conferred the title of Dame Commander of the British Empire in 2008 in recognition of her significant contribution to the Financial Services industry.[2][3]

She serves as a non-executive Director at Assicurazioni Generali S.p.A. Additionally, in March 2021, she assumed the role of Chairman of the UK Voluntary Carbon Markets Forum, leading efforts to establish a global, high-integrity market for voluntary carbon credits. This initiative is vital for facilitating a swift and economically beneficial transition to net zero emissions. Furthermore, she is a member of the Panel of Senior Advisors at Chatham House.

Among goals for HSBC UK, she was charged with creating more gender equality at the top of that bank's operations. The goal was to create an equal number of women and men among roughly 550 senior executive positions at the bank. [4][5][6]

Furse is best known as the former chief executive of the London Stock Exchange (LSE). Furse joined the exchange in 2001 and stepped down from the position in May 2009. She was replaced by Xavier Rolet.[7] During her tenure, the LSE was catapulted into the FTSE 100 list of the biggest companies and the LSE's stock price rose about 400 percent.

Background[edit]

Before taking the position at HSBC UK, she served on the Bank of England’s financial policy committee (FPC), a group aimed at identifying possible problems in the financial system. She was the first woman on the committee, serving from 2013 to 2016.

Born in Canada in 1957, Furse became the first woman and first foreigner (Furse is a Dutch citizen who grew up in Colombia and Denmark) to lead the LSE when she took over as chief executive in February 2001.[8]

Furse took over at the LSE after a turbulent period in which the exchange withdrew from a merger with Germany's Deutsche Boerse amid a hostile offer from Sweden's exchange operator. Furse oversaw a successful flotation for the LSE itself when she took command - shares in the company outperformed the rest of the market by 30 percent after the stock debuted in July 2001. A low point, however, came when the LSE lost to pan-European rival Euronext in a bid to buy London's financial derivatives exchange, Liffe. Under Furse the LSE invested heavily in its electronic trading platform and purchased market data provider Proquote.

Furse, who was listed among Time Magazine's 100 The Most Influential People In The World in 2007 and Forbes' 100 Most Powerful Women,[9] [10] is famous for her rejection of several bids by competing exchanges.

In May 2001, the LSE and Deutsche Boerse announced plans to create a pan-European exchange called iX. However, in August 2002, OM Group bid for the LSE, forcing it to withdraw from the iX deal. In December 2004, LSE rejected a bid by Deutsche Boerse and did so again in January 2005, when the LSE rejected a $2.44 billion (£1.3 billion) offer by Deutsche Boerse. In December 2004, Euronext was also interested in bidding for LSE, however, that overture also did not succeed.[11]

In December 2005, the LSE rejected an offer from Macquarie Bank and then another from Nasdaq, which tried to purchase the exchange via a hostile takeover bid in 2006, offering $5.3 billion. Furse rebuffed the offer and Nasdaq eventually built a 31% stake in the LSE, before it too ended its effort in August 2007. Nasdaq then sold its stake in September 2007 to Boerse Dubai and purchased OMX.[12]

Her career began in 1979 as a commodities broker, where she later joined Phillips and Drew in 1983. By 1995, she rose to the position of managing director at UBS, and subsequently assumed the role of global head of futures in 1996.[13]

Prior to joining the LSE, she was group CEO of Rand Merchant Bank, Credit Lyonnais Rouse between 1998 and 2000. She's built her career in the world of derivatives-broking on a reputation for ruthlessness.[14]

She was a non-executive Director of Nomura Holdings from June 2010 to March 2017. She also served on the board of Vodafone Group Plc from September 2014 to July 2023. She was a non-executive director of Amadeus IT Group S.A. from April 2010 to June 2022. Until April 2017, she served on the Board of the UK's Department for Work and Pensions for six years, during which she held the role of lead independent Director in her final period of service.[15]

Education[edit]

Furse was educated at schools in Colombia, Denmark and Britain and completed her university education at the London School of Economics and Political Science.

Resources[edit]

Clara Furse, Dame of the Capital Markets

References[edit]

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