Clara Furse is 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.
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. 
She is also a non-executive director of Nomura Holdings, Vodafone, Amadeus, a travel company and the UK department for work and pensions.
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. 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.
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.
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,  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.
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.
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.
Furse completed her university education at the London School of Economics and Political Science.
JLN News Feed
We visit more than 100 websites daily for financial news (Would YOU do that?). Read the John Lothian Newsletter.